OK, so, breathe, you are now in the midst of a deployment. You are now a fairly experienced Phone Ninja. At some point you will go through “The Cleanse”. The Cleanse may seem cold and mean to non forces wives, girlfriends and mothers, but I argue it is actually a very important exercise.
The run up.
Personally, I give myself over to self indulgence and to be honest, self pity, for the first few days of a deployment. In my case this is 2-3 weeks where I drink an entire vineyard and dress like Daisy Bouquet from Keeping Up Appearances. (Please note that the length of time and style of dress may vary from person to person).
After all of that, you are ready, basically you come to terms with the fact that this is really happening.
Instead of bursting into tears every time you find one of their snotty tissues, instead of smelling and sighing at the dirty sock you find next to the wash basket and instead of putting off washing up “their mug” that they used just before they left………….You decide it’s time to cleanse.
How do you know it’s time?
You get annoyed at the fact that just moving around the effing house makes you want to cry.
More importantly, your house is beginning to smell just a bit ‘fusty’.
You realise you have been mostly wearing an eclectic wardrobe that look like a cross between what your Nan would wear and a 90’s charity shop (sorry Daisy).
AND you keep looking at the episodes of Game of Thrones, Match of the Day or Rude Tube that he recorded on Sky+, and you can’t bring yourself to delete them even though the final EVER episode of desperate housewives is on tonight and you need to make space to record it.
Here it comes!
At some point, you decide to stop being sad that they’ve gone, and also realise you are becoming increasingly annoyed with yourself, and you decide to JUST GET ON WITH IT.
Now if you’re reading this and you think this sounds harsh, then you are probably still in the run up phase, carry on! Enjoy it! I’m actually quite jealous. I always try to eek it out for as long as possible. Fairly soon you will start to do your own head in.
So….now you are ready.
Usually, for me, my “Cleanse” happens on a Saturday morning, after a Friday of one too many vinos on a night out with the girls. Which, although is very supportive and helpful, makes me feel even more like a sore thumb and martyr-esque than is comfortable (there’s another post coming about nights like these!).
Saturday morning, bright and early(ish); its time……
Dururururururrurrrrrrrrururr durrururrurur – (it’s a drum roll of course)
To the bin! Go the snotty tissues and toothbrush!!!!
Banished! To the dark corners of the cupboard go the Xbox games and various appendages! (Can’t help but do a secret “hoorah” when this stuff goes)
Bye bye multiple giant designer man-coats! See you when you’re fished outta the wardrobe in 6 months! Mwah ha haa!
In the washing machine go the socks, trousers and pants!
-The T-shirts are exempt from The Cleanse. If you are like me (and I don’t care if everyone in cyber space thinks I’m weird) dirty T-shirts go back in the drawer for a later day of self indulgence, used frugally, as needed, for a “smell his smell fest”. This almost always happens when I’m feeling a tad concerned that I may have dreamt our entire relationship, wedding and marriage, my Phone Ninja senses are on high alert, and I just need a whiffy reminder that it’s all real. (If you are very clever you can actually ‘budget’ out the amount of smell to last you the entire deployment, but probably only if you’re a tad lax with housework like me and end up with a fair few stinky T-shirts before they leave.)
During The Cleanse, even receipts, notes, bank statements and “navy crap” are not exempt, just T-Shirts pretty much. By the way when I say “navy crap” I know you all know what I’m on about…random overalls, shoelaces, boot polish, socks as thick at my duvet, strange metal cylinders that you think may be some kind of bomb until you realise it’s just a flask. (By the way- please let me know of the weirdest “navy crap” you’ve ever come across in the comfort of your own home, mine was a flak jacket/waistcoaty thing last worn in Afghanistan, the dog smelled it then went and hid! He’s so clever!)
Ahh… After The Cleanse
Afterwards… you feel…refreshed, Zen-like and at one with the universe (but still a bit narked that they aren’t home). You feel invigorated, calm and confident that you can and will cope with the months ahead.
Yes, there’ll always be the random snotty tissue down the back of the sofa that you discover a few weeks later that dissolves you into tears. And yes, there will be nights where you spray the dog with Hugo Boss just because he’s taken to sleeping on the bed lately.
But because you’ve physically sorted out your home, mentally you’re now ready to knuckle down and get through the middle bit, the ‘meaty’ bit of the deployment.
The Cleanse doesn’t mean you’re forgetting your sailor, or that you’re glad they’ve gone. It’s a way of giving yourself a much needed kick up the backside and lets you get back to being the person your sailor loves.
Because, let’s be honest, the reason they’re coming back to you is because they know you can cope, even if at times you don’t know it. The Cleanse is my way of ending the self indulgent pity party (which don’t get me wrong can be a lot of fun!) and getting on with the job in hand. Supporting and waiting for your sailor, and most importantly, living your life.
Love and hugs,