Farting when they’re home

When your partner is away you can independently let loose with (ahem) flatuence – whenever you need to.


For civvy couples this kind of thing doesn’t happen to them.

They must have a well worked out routine of either: 

  1. Storing up farts until one of the couple falls asleep-then letting loose.
  2. All out, no hold barred, ass emissions as and when necessary.

I don’t really see any middle ground here for them civvies.

However- In the Oyl household, or maybe just in military households: 

Farting is definitely option 2 when Popeye is deployed, and then I try my very best for option 1 when he is home ( at least for the first two weeks of leave).

With the Oyl Household system, there is, an unfortunate overlap come homecoming time.

This time, when he has just come home. That magical time when he’s still unpacking, you are trying not to yell at the children and also trying not to guzzle the wine at the rate you normally do.

When you are trying to be sexy and cool and up-together.

When you are a trying to be a Kirsty Allsop- esque mum. And failing.

And then. There’s a rumbling.

The old pelvic floor gives a creak and-

You guff.

Its not even a quiet one. Not even one you can blame on the kids or the dog.

It’s bad.

In both the olfactory sense and the relationship sense. It’s bad.

And then you look at him and see his momentary disgust. Then humour. And ultimately his respect.

Because yes I fart. And yes he loves me.

Not in spite. 

But because.


Because he loves me and because (shock horror) humans pass gas. This is what our bodies do when we are healthy and fucking comfortable. 

It is embarrassing for that micro second before he laughs and before I remember he has encountered much worse on deployment. 

(P.s screw you Kirsty “let’s-all-casually-weave-a-basket/go-glass-blowing”- Allsop).

Muchos love ❤️ 

Alternative “open when” letters. For the realistic military wife.

I’ve been thinking I might have a go at writing some “open when” letters for Popeye. I’m sure you’ve all heard of them. Maybe some of you have even sent them, if you have I’m a teeny but in awe/jelly.

“Open when” letters are letters you write before they deploy that they can open when they’ve deployed at various pre stipulated points. 

For example they might say “open when…

  • You’re missing me
  • It’s your birthday
  • It’s our anniversary
  • You’ve had a bad day
  • You’ve reached the halfway point of the deployment.

Etc etc.


They are a really lovely idea and I’m sure they bring a lot of satisfaction and happiness to many of you. 

But (you knew there would be a but didn’t you!) they just ain’t my style. 

If me and Popeye were to do this, there would be some serious reality checks involved.

First of all I don’t know when the fuck I would find the time to write a dozen or so poignant declarations of love and reassurance. I barely have time to wash myself or go for a wee in private. Also I’d much rather spend those last few days actually hanging out with Popeye.

Secondly I’m 95%sure Popeye would either read them all in one sitting or forget about them until I mentioned them on the phone and/or the night before homecoming. Kind of ruins the magic a tad.

Thirdly I would be so tempted to put joke answers inside. I don’t think I can be trusted not to be a complete cow and do something like this-

“Open when… you feel like crying” *Popeye, with a sniff, opens letter*

“….ha ha ha ….tit…”

Or “open when…. you are homesick”

*opens letter, maybe a bit more guarded this time*

“….man up or hand in your notice… p.s it’s horrible here anyway…”.

Yeah maybe that’s not the best way to go.

I know!

Got it. I’m going to write him “Open when” letters, for a real (as in boring and normal) military relationship, my ideas so far include:

  • Open when…you’ve spent £200-500 on a night out, phone me from the dockside at 3am slurring, have fallen over and can’t figure out how to hold your phone and stand up at the same time
  • Open when… you forgot to top up your phone card and we get cut off mid conversation. Even though I reminded you yesterday.
  • Open when… you haven’t emailed me for days because you’re “so busy” at work but there are Facebook photos of you by the pool and/or selfie with a monkey in gib.
  • Open when… you realise I’ve spent hours buying, packing and posting out parcels to you and you moan I forgot to put in jelly beans.
  • Open when… you think it’s a sane idea to give me parenting suggestions from hundreds of miles away
  • Open when… you’re on a beach sipping cocktails and seriously say that you’d rather be here in rainy old Blighty than a tropical beach paradise luxury resort 
  • Open when… you casually mention on the phone you’ve been doing the T25 work out for the last two months and how it’s going really well knowing full well I’m halfway down a bottle of rosé and have eaten an entire Terry’s chocolate orange since you rang.

And the best thing about this is that I can save time and effort in the contents of the letters! A one-word-fits-all “open when” letter system! 

Simply

“….prick…”

I’ll let you know how I get on,

Muchos love,

Olive

P.s the choc orange was totally worth it.

X

Phonecalls post kids

Pre motherhood phonecalls were excellent. Really top notch. Beautiful examples of clear adult communication.

I mean, we got cut off every five minutes or there would be some jarring darlek- like announcement from time to time but looking back, I can say, hand on my heart they were bloody lovely. 

Since being blessed with two delightful toddling sprogs with only an 18 month age gap I can safely say phonecalls are shite.

Now, not only do I have to compete with the signal cutting whims of Mother Nature, and the urgently announced need for WO Pugwash to hot foot it to X deck for tea and crumpets with El Captaino, I also have to compete with two screaming small people.


They are happily smacked up on CBeebies, or whatever the latest offering from the iPad is, when the phone rings. 

I spring into action, drop the latest pile of plastic tat I’m tidying, or clothes I’m about to wash, or the cloth that’s wiping rice crispies laced with fucking mastic off of the high chair and get to that phone.

The very split second I answer, the nano moment I depress the talk button with my thumb, the very instant I reach my goal- it happens. 

My two little contented angels morph into the spawn of the kraken.

They simultaneously start screaming and shouting at me, whilst making a beeline for my calves. I don’t know why they do it, I don’t know how they do it. To be honest with you I don’t really care. The point is they bloody do do it.

So that’s the beginning of the phonecall buggered then. 


The rest of it is usually a disjointed conversation, half me trying (and failing) to tell Popeye about my day. The other half is a disjointed running commentary, of what Popeye must only be able to imagine is some kind of scaled down humanitarian crisis. It goes a little bit like this:

“…yeah so I’m really hoping that I can get X done at work tomorrow. Sweetpea put that down, no now, mummy is getting cross, … otherwise it will really mess up the deadline, what is that? No, mummy will take that, it can hurt you, you will cry and need to go to the doctor. Yes the doctor will make your owies all better, but that’s not the point! …that I’ve got on Monday.

I spoke to my sister the other day, yeah she’s fine, she’s moving house and- oh shit Sproglets got a sippy cup full of squash, hang on, (cue wrestling-a-ten-month-old-over-a-cup noises) –give it to mummy, good girl, it’s ok don’t cry. Sproglet  here, look! How about this toy ooh look it’s got lights WOW!…so they haven’t set a date for completion but it should be exchanging in the next- Sweetpea give it back to your sister, no, she had it first, give it back now please. Show mummy your BEST sharing!

So how are things with you? Really? Cool. Oh hang on  Sweetpeas just come over. What’s the matter? You need a poo. Of course you do. Ok yes mummy will come with you and help. 

What’s that Popeye? You need to go? You’re tired. Of course you are. I know how hard you work. No it’s fine. NO! DO NOT TRY TO WIPE IT YOURSELF! I’ve got to go too, love you, bye *click*.

And all of a sudden I’m standing there in the bathroom staring at a toddlers poo-ey bum wondering what the hell we just spoke about.

And realising how bloody excellent pre kids phonecalls were. 

Muchos love, 

Olive

My denial dinghy.

Popeye leaves for his 9 month deployment very very soon. Obvs can’t mention dates etc but let’s just say we aren’t talking weeks here.

He’s said his goodbyes to the outlaws and is gearing up to say tatty bye to our daughters. And I guess me too but I can’t even go there right now.

Each deployment is different. Usually I’m a sobbing, snotty, puffy eyed wreck (attractive). This time however I’m like totally numb. I’ve zoned out and can’t even get words out of my mouth when we talk about it.

 I have no idea why my brain has done this but all I can guess is my minds gone “no, no. Nope. Can’t handle this. Too painful. Too much. It’s too much! I’m checking out. See you later  conscious brain. Catch you laters!”

So I am calm. I am dangerously calm. Like  the normal emotional reaction is a rip current but I’m happily bobbing about on top on my dinghy. Probably doing a sudoku.

 My little escapist, denial dinghy that I’m fairly sure has a puncture. 


It’s going to deflate at some point and then I must face the depths of this. 

For instance, certain questions I should be addressing such as- 

How do we explain this to our two year old? 

My brain: No idea. We’ve got nothing here captain (plays magic roundabout theme tune loudly on repeat whilst doing some thing Pinterest fail-esque). 

Have we got all the grown up pre deployment shit sorted out? Like making sure his Skype account and mine are good to go. The emergency numbers and his phone card numbers are taped to the fridge, and the Christmas decorations are down from the loft.

My brain: yes, really should do this. Got loads of time (we don’t). Will just do this first (gardening/drinking wine/ starting a quilt). 

Spending quality time together.

My brain: so, it looks like date nights been a bit of a fail. Hey I know why don’t I write a blog post all about it instead of putting my phone down and giving it another shot. Genius.

Capturing each precious memory of the last week on film.

My brain: hey let’s leave the phone at home so you can’t take any pictures. Nothing like a bit of self sabotage to really help your early deployment mental health. Don’t want to make this easy for myself after all do I?

these photos were brought to you by random iphone gatherings over the summer.

I didn’t really know how to end this blog post (I blame my obviously faulty brain at this time) so I read it to Popeye and he said it’s because this time it’s not just about me and him. 

This time I have two children to care for. Two small people’s brains who are looking to me to see how to cope with this. 

This time is longer. 9 months is such a massive chunk of time when I think about it it makes my head go fuzzy and I start laughing in a slightly unhinged way.

This time it’s not just a couple saying goodbye, but a family saying goodbye. 

My family. 

Shit.

Normal service will resume shortly

Pre deployment date night fail

So it’s getting close to the Big D.

We don’t have many nights when Popeye isn’t working the next day left, plus we have a mental two year old and a 7 month old baby who is teething and beginning to resemble Count Dracula or someone from the Volturi. 

We are exhausted but decided to push the boat out (-ha ha ha, punny) and have a date night. 


The plan was to do an early bedtime for the kids, settle down with a naice film and a takeaway, a bottle of fizz and then have some maximum effort, sexy underwear, lights dimmed but on “grown up time”. I had shaved my legs and everything.

What actually happened was a massive fail. Like colossal. 

The Early bedtime- both children decided they are junior insomniacs. One wanted to jump around singing “wind the (effing) bobbin up” at full blast. The other decided that tonight was the night she would develop super duper senses telling her the precise second I put her down she would wake up, eyes bright and alight with happiness, a small smile playing around her mouth. Over. And over. And over again. For three hours.  Three. THREE! I finally got downstairs at about 8.30pm.

The Naice film. Popeye was supposed to choose one and have it ready for when I got downstairs. He was watching Star Trek. Now I don’t have anything against Captain Kirk et al, but it’s not quite what I had in mind. I let him know.

We had a Chinese! Huzzah! As for the booze- I was too exhausted and full of Chinese to even think about having a drink. Plus I realised my super duper 50% off bottle I got from Lidl was probably that price because it was only 7.5%. Not gonna lie, I felt cheated. 

So, in summary, our Big Pre Deployment Date Night consisted of us sitting in opposite areas of the house for a few hours, me with vampire insomniac children, him with the crew of The USS Enterprise. We did have a Chinese, however this rendered us really full and fat.

In the end he put on Die Hard and I went on Mumsnet. 

Jammy fuckers

This.

Who said romance is dead?!?!

The amount of pressure we both felt under for last night to be “amazing” was ridiculous. We are first parents then a couple afterall and even though our date night idea looked pretty fab on paper in reality it’s just not going to work out like that. It just feels like I can almost hear the clock ticking down those final few days and it’s making my adrenaline run, I imagine it’s how John McClaine felt when he realised he had no shoes and had to fight Snape. 

P.s we are aiming for round two tonight, maybe if we spread the content of date night over the whole weekend we will get all the boxes ticked???

The truth about deployment.

What deployment is really like. And what it’s really not like.

It’s not all staring off into the horizon in a floaty white dress with a single tear rolling down a polished cheek.

floaty dress? check. staring into middle distance? check. must be a navy wife.
It’s not about getting a long awaited dog eared letter in the post, hugging it to your chest in quiet bliss and rushing up to your room to flop down onto the bed to read it in matching pyjamas.

Seriously, who the fuck does this?!

It’s not beaming ear to ear with pride whilst waving a Union Jack (well homecoming is but that’s only a couple of hours out of the whole thing).

Standard navy wife Tuesday activity.

It’s not romantic. It’s not magical. 

It’s cereal for dinner.

It’s explaining again and again and again where they are and why they couldn’t make it.

It’s wine. Or gin. 


It’s weddings and BBQs and Friday nights and Tuesday lunchtimes alone.

It’s having to take both kids with you to your smear test because there’s no one else to help. 

It’s suffering the same questions at every family gathering.

“Where is he now then?”

“Heard from Popeye lately?”

“It can’t be much longer now surely?”

Gah.

It’s making coffee for one every morning.

It’s being ill and having to carry on.

It’s dutifully sending one email (at least) a day and hearing nothing back for days.

It’s learning to carry the ache of missing them around with you and realising that it won’t go away until you’re back together again.

It’s checking your email a zillion times a day just incase, and keeping your phone within arms reach for months without fail.

Deployments are not what people think they are. They are marathons not sprints and we are running in a race we’d rather not have to enter.

But we get to cross that finish line eventually and that part of the illusion is true. That moment is indescribably scrummy and romantic and fantastic. 

So even if well meaning family and friends don’t have a clue of the reality of a deployment, or even if this is your first deployment and you’ve realised you didn’t have a clue, just trust me, even if the race is a steaming pile of groundhog poop, that finish line will be so worth it. 

Must dash, got me some sea starin’ to do. 

*i doubt shes going through the lidl shopping list or what to cook for tea*

Muchos love,

Olive X 

Same/different. Deal with it.

So Popeye is coming HOME today!!!!!

Yippee! I have officially made it to the end of BOST (Basic Operational Sea Trials) without killing the children or having a nervous breakdown! Go me *proud face*!

I attribute my success in Forces Spouse Parenting to a winning combo of rosé spritzers after the kids bedtime, going out to the park a LOT and lowering my housekeeping standards to just above “slovenly”. 


Popeye phoned last night and because of crap signal we of course got cut off mid conversation (standard). 

I didn’t get to do my usual “Some things are different and some things are the same” potentially slightly patronising debrief. 

Let me elaborate, Popeye, and I suspect many other sailors and service persons out there, find it quite difficult to understand that time has passed here at home.

Some things have (duhn duhn duuuhn!) changed. The house he left does not look exactly the same as when he left. I have (shockingly) kept calm and carried on. Without him.

During the couple of months of BOST par examplé I have-

  • Moved the basket where we keep the towels and swapped it with the laundry bin. (Duhn duhn duuuuhn!)
  • Moved the microwave to under the boiler on the other side of the kitchen. (Omfg I’m a monster)
  • Put black out curtains up in sweet peas room because I was fed of of waiting for him to do it. (Sweet Jesus  the humanity!)
  • In a mad fit of “the good life meet gardeners world” weirdness I dug and planted a veg garden with tomato, courgette and runner beans. (Side note: there is an 80% chance they will all die). 
  • Bought two plants to put next to the front door so we look posher than we are. (They are from lidl. Fucking love lidl and its mystery aisle. )

oh la la its like being at downton here

So stuff has moved around. And there is new stuff in our house.

Popeye does not like this. I can just tell he feels uncomfortable or a bit miffed when he steps in the house and it’s not a photocopy of how it was when he left us.

I swear he thinks the second he departs on that bloody tin can time freezes here. 

Even though I do tell him on the phone that I’ve bought X, Y, Z or I’ve put up a picture or whatnot; he doesn’t really ever seem to register that it has actually happened. What I am telling you on the phone is my real life. Like actually real. 

Im not making it up. I’m not trying to dupe him. I’m not trying to make him feel out of place or confused in his own home. 

I’m running a household. I’m doing exactly what I would have done had he been here.

I won’t put my life on hold, or wait for him to be home in order to get stuff sorted out in Maison de Oyl. 

So I usually have a special “some things are different and some are the same chat”. 

Except I couldn’t this time because we got cut off after talking about the girls.

I guess that’s another different thing. He left me as a blubbering, exhausted, desperate for help mother of two under two asking herself “how am I going to do this with no help?!” 

Instead he will come back to find me a coping, exhausted mother of two under two. Still in need of help but not in that panic zone. Still in love with my Popeye, still hating the navy. 

look at me, freakin coping my ass off here

Because I’ve bloody done it. And it feels amazing. Amazingly different. And amazingly the same. 

Muchos love. 

Olive 

X

P.s if you like reading my blog, or if your wife/partner keeps sending you links to my posts and find yourself lol-ing when reading them onboard how about voting for me in the MAD blog awards? I’m a finalist in the best lifestyle blog category and it would mean SO much to win it. I’m the only forces person in the whole awards (guilt trip guilt trip). It takes 2 mins. Click right here and vote for ME! Ta muchly X 

To my civvy friends

To my civvy friends,

First of all I need to say thank you. Thank you for being there for me when I was doing my first deployment and doubting if Popeye would still fancy me when he came back. Reassuring me when I had worries about if I could do this navy life lark, and turning up with a clinking carrier bag and packet of twenty. 

Thank you for being there during all the other deployments when I leant on you for support, when I needed an emergency buddy at A&E, when the car broke down and I needed help. For sending round your partner to mow the lawn when I was by myself with Sweetpea. For answering the phone when I was in tears from watching Christmas adverts.

Now for the apologies. And an explanation. 

I’m sorry that as soon as Popeye has leave I go to ground. I’m less reliable than a Flake. I don’t text back. I forget plans. I cancel plans and I am so vague about making plans until the last minute. 

Please don’t take this personally. I still love you and need your friendship. I’m not ditching you. I think or rather I hope you understand this.

If you don’t then maybe our friendship isn’t strong enough to survive one of us being a military spouse. And my marriage will always come first. 

My time with Popeye is so precious. And since we became parents it is even more so. When he’s home we are in our own bubble and we never know what we want to do day to day. Except to be together. As much as possible. Even when we start to annoy each other.

Because of this we don’t make plans. When he’s home I find it hard to socialise and not be a bit unhinged. We might do a longstanding birthday party or a few spur of the moment meet ups, but, in general we are, and will continue to be selfish.  

 

When he has leave it is our one chance to put us first, possibly all year. 

Our relationship might need alone time desperately, not just rudey times but quality time. 

We need time together to get to know each other again. We’ve both changed whilst he’s been away and we need time to date, to flirt and then to become a functioning couple again. Whenever he comes back it feels weird to even kiss him or have him close to me for a few days. It’s a good kind of weird but it still takes a while to get used to it.

We need to create memories. All the missed birthdays and anniversaries have to be compensated for in a few short weeks during the summer and possibly Easter. Christmas is usually filled with family visits and as such is so mentally busy we hardly see each other. Besides he’s never had all 3 bouts of leave in a year since I’ve known him. So we use these precious few days to treat ourselves and spoil each other. Because we don’t know when our next opportunity will be.

Sometimes our time apart has really tested us. We need time to resolve any issues that have come up whilst we’ve been apart. This is not something we can do in a public/social arena. We need to be at home, talking and finding our way back to normal. 

We need to get practical. As you know I try to carry on as “normal” when he’s away but there are always projects or plans saved for leave. This can be because only he can do them or because I feel only he should do them.

Like putting together his daughters new bedroom furniture because he missed her birth and first 6 months of her life. Like decorating the house so it feels like it’s his home too, and so he can find out where everything is kept in the kitchen before we have that big summer BBQ. Because he hasn’t been here since before we moved house and he would be mortified if a guest asked him where something was and he didn’t know. In short we need time for him to feel at home. 

I hope you accept my apologies because we won’t be changing. And I hope you accept my thanks because I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for being my civvy friend and balancing out the madness and giving me a reality check of how it’s supposed to be. Thank you for your perspective. 

I hope you understand why I am the way that I am.

All my love,

A military spouse, or partner.

Xxxxxx

Boring Snoring Gloring Mummy versus “The Funninator”.

I work hard at home to keep everything ticking over. I have systems, I have routine, I even have flexibility built into the routine. Efficient, no?

 Me and Sweetpea, we have fun. We have sand play, water play, music time, play groups, breast feeding group, messy play, you name it we go to it. Such activities are are on a loose weekly basis, special fun days are planned in advance and carefully packed for the night before so there’s no forgotten sun cream, no lack of spare clothes, no forgotten swimming costume disasters. 

In short I think I provide a stable, varied and fun week for her.

Until Daddy comes home on a Friday. Of course. How can I ever compete with The Funninator?

He usually comes home right in the middle of tea time, meaning that from the second he bounds into the room, arms open, voice booming, Sweetpea will be so star struck that she will eat no more that evening. 

She will stay up late because I want them to have some time together. 

They will get so wired off of playing together that she may as well have had a whole tube of blue smarties. Same goes for Popeye. By time I’ve put her to bed it’s Stupid O’clock and I’m doing my very best impression of a walker from The Walking Dead. With one side of my bra unclipped. Nice.

So that’s the evening routine screwed. The next day Popeye will suggest us all going on a day trip. An expensive, exciting, far away day trip, like to the zoo or aquarium or something. Which is great.

  I will say yes because I want them to have special magical memories of lovely days out together. Just give me 30mins to get everything ready whilst you two play and snuggle. 

I’m fairly sure Popeye is thinking all this time “why this isn’t stressful at all! I’m having a lovely time playing with Sweetpea. What’s the problem, parenting is such fun!” 

(Sweetpea is probably thinking something similar.)

Meanwhile I’m rubbing porridge off of the wall, loading the dishwasher and the washing machine knowing we will be out all day and shit needs to get done.  

Mid domestic whirlwind, I see them cuddling from the kitchen and I feel a pang of jealousy. I want to be the Funninator sometimes. 

But he doesn’t get much time with her and they need this bonding time. 

Plus I’m the only one who knows when bin day is and where the nappy bags are kept. 

So we go for our super mega ultra fun day out. We have super mega ultra fun. Naturally this ends in a HUGE tantrum from Sweetpea and a looooong nap in car on the way back home. Meaning another late night, and she still wakes up at 5am.

Argh! (*breathe Olive breathe- keeping reminding yourself “quality family time, quality family time- oohhhhmmmm” etc).

By the time Popeye leaves on Sunday, me and Sweetpea have no idea which way is up or what’s going on. Night time routine has gone out of the window, daytime routine has gone out of the window, so much crap has gone out of the window I may just get a door installed there instead.

We’ve had a great weekend. I’ve loved  having The Funninator home to help with parenting. I’ve loved seeing him and Sweetpea together. I’ve loved feeling like one half of a whole again.

We’ve all had quality family time. So much quality I could do with a bit of quantity to be honest. 

Instead I feel like every weekend is a holiday, which is great, but makes my head spin! It takes me and Sweetpea about a week to recover, by which time it’s the weekend again! It’s exhausting and exhilarating at the same time.

On Sunday’s after weekenders, most of our food has gone off because we’ve had so much dominoes and wagamama, we usually have some random and expensive fudge or cheese from a farm shop and that’s it. We are therefore also skint. We don’t have any clean clothes because I never did take that first lot out of the washing machine on  Saturday  morning, and the house looks like someone has confused it with a magic 8 ball and picked it up and shaken it repeatedly. 

“Thanks for a lovely weekend, I’m going to miss my girls” says Popeye, with a big hug and kiss for us both. He hates leaving us so I put on my best “big girl smile” and wave him off and say something reassuring and positive. Off he sweeps to save the world one cleaning routine at a time.

We sit on the floor in the chaos and look at each other. Then Boring Snoring Gloring Mummy starts picking up the pieces again as Sweetpea waves to the shut front door “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy” she gurgles.

“Daddy’s gone to sea, Daddy be back soon.” I reply. And stick the washing on a repeat cycle.