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???

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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 

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?!?! 

  

Weird pick ups. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who- after completing a basic level  Navy Wife MOT has driven like a bat out of hell to some isolated lay by, or petrol station, or middle-of-nowhere train station, to await the arrival of the fabled sailor. 

  
Sitting there with the hot air blowers on, checking your phone and trying to look really casual, yet stunning, making sure there’s a cool song on the CD player, and trying (and failing) to not gaze into the headlights of every approaching vehicle like some lip glossed, perfumed rabbit.  

Oh yes, and if it’s early evening, in the summer, on a Friday night, in Somerset, in a lay by at the side of the A303, waving along creepy men in white vans who obviously think you are a dogger. Seriously, this actually happened to me.

Eventually, after a few texts of “where are you?!” With no reply, you give up and start playing candy crush with your mouth hanging open and/or start pulling stupid faces in the mirror whilst inspecting your eyebrows and makeup. You wonder if you’ve got time to do a fart and air the car out before he turns up. If I’m in a risk taking mood, I let rip. If not, it’s lockdown for the foreseeable future. 

Of course this is the time that the passenger door opens, and he appears before me (imagine a choir singing “hallelujah!”). 

I, of course, jump out of my skin, swear, drop my phone down the side of the car seat, blush and (if applicable) release the trapped guff. Great first impression Olive. 

He doesn’t mind of course. And I use my blush as a reason to wind down the windows, or jump out to help him get his stuff in the boot. Further creating air circulation. 

This account is not including the drop off at Official Scary Navy Gates. Where they have giant guns and think it’s absolutely hilarious to wave them around next to my open window and say things like “don’t worry love you wouldn’t get far”. And then stare at you whilst you park up. 

The fear I have felt when pulling into the wrong gate at the Yeovilton Base cannot be underestimated. 

There are three gates at Yeovilton, all along the same road. And all open and shut at seemingly random different times. I’m sure these times make perfect sense in navy land but not to me. I used to shit myself when picking Popeye up from there in our early years because the people on the gate were just plain mean and used to laugh at me freaking out, sweating, stalling the car and stammering when they waved their guns around and told me off for coming to the wrong gate. Again.

(Also why is there a gate that leads no where in both HMS Collingwood and one of the entrances in Portsmouth?! Why do they exist???)

The weirdest place I’ve waited to pick up Popeye is probably at the side of a lake in a country park in Devon (probably prime dogging territory). In the pitch black in the middle of nowhere. I could literally hear crickets. 

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve had to go meet your sailor? 

And how much did it feel like you were doing a drug drop/ were a gangster? (I bet quite a lot). 

Also if anyone else gets the heebie jeebies from picking up by Official Scary Navy Bases please tell me. I feel like a right wimp. 

Muchos love

Olive

Xxxxxxx

 


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

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

Parcel sending: what does your parcel say about you?

During this deployment my parcel skills have taken a nosedive. I used to be soooooo good at sending parcels out. I diligently sent one a week, each item loving picked to cater to Popeyes fluctuating needs throughout our time apart. Hours would be spent writing a letter of epic proportions, with each line thought about and delivered tenderly and with very neat handwriting.

I would go into specific shops to find a DVD or game that he had requested, I would go to the sweet shop in search of his favourite sweets (fizzy raspberry balls), I would in short trek up and down the high street, my heart fluttering with excitement at the thought of his delight as he opened each carefully and lovely packed bundle.

Fast forward a few years, and add a baby into the mix and the standard has dropped…I have dubbed myself “the New Mum” parcel sender:

the New Mum
Bang out a garbled letter in which my handwriting looks like a spider has died a slow death and crawled across the page, a letter that’s contents is basically a minute by minute account of my day, and therefore exactly the same as the email I’ve just sent.

Now I’ve got sweet pea it’s a case of- grab a few bags of 3 for 2 from the confectionary aisle of tescos as quickly as possible. Cram as many sweets into the box as I can under the 2kg limit (or I have to pay and that is sooo not happening). If it’s over the limit, remove heaviest sweets and eat them myself, then at some point during the next week or two whack it into the post office en route to the next supermarket trip or doctors appointment or coffee morning. There are no more DVDs, no more scented pillowcases, no more “open when you feel… Letters” it’s literally a box of a random collection of aisle 6’s choicest picks and a note with a coffee ring in the corner. I think of my parcels as a bit of a failure on my part, especially when I consider how much effort I used to put in (see “The Romantic” and “The Artist”, below). But I haven’t got enough time on my hands to worry about it.

This got me thinking about how these parcels reflect us, those packing them. Whether we are girlfriends doing our first deployment, a heart broken fiancé counting down to her wedding, a rushed off her feet wife and mother, or a mum wanting to scoop up her son or daughter from miles away but not being able to. I’ve come up with some categories:

The romantic
(Basically how I was,)
So, it’s probably their first deployment. Each box is lovingly packed with items that have been given a lot of thought. A romantic letter with rude undertones. Possibly a stocking with a note “come find the other one when you’re home” etc. definitely stuff that smells of their perfume. Letter sealed with a lipstick kiss and a sigh. Very excited about when their sailor receives it. Sees the parcel as a physical embodiment of their love. Box weighs more than 2kg, but she doesn’t care as she is desperate to send it. Makes a special trip into town to ceremoniously post it.

The pragmatist
Has been given a list by her sailor. Writes a time and date on the calendar when a trip into town is manageable and goes in and buys said items. No more, no less. May or may not call into the post office to buy her new tax disk at the same time. The letter written explains why certain brands were selected in favour of others, a short account of how life is at home is given, with a reminder to provide certain information, such as national insurance number, so that she can register them to vote/complete census form/update SORN information before homecoming.Box weighs exactly 2kg after wrapping.
Sees the box as a reflection of how well she is coping. Poster feels a sense of accomplishment and personal pride when sending it. Posts it during her lunch break as she’s remembered to take it with her in the car that morning.

The Old Timer
Needs no list. Due to doing so many deployments psychically knows when her sailor needs a parcel and exactly what her sailor needs. This will change depending on which hemisphere he is in. She knows how long each parcel will take to arrive, give or take 3 days, no matter where they are in the world. Parcel is packed with a balance of things he literally needs, such as shower gel, moisturiser etc, and an even mix of moral boosting sweets and crisps. There are letters from her and the sailors best friends and family members. She has a photo bucket account set up and automatically includes recent photos and updates of important family events. Box weighs as much as it needs to and is sent when it is ready, which is exactly at the right time. Sees the box as something she does when her sailor is deployed, and thinks no more of it.

The joker
Sends an empty box.

The Angel
Puts other navy wives to shame by sending several boxes at a time. Each one is a mix of practical and romantic. They don’t worry about when they send them as they constantly send them. Is on first name terms with the post office staff. Has a roll of customs labels at home. Will send novelty items as needed for functions on the ship, such as a Neptune costume for the crossing the line ceremony. And are therefore practical and fun. Usually includes home made jam or chutney. Letters are newsy, breezy and different every time. Has no need for scales as can tell by holding each box if it is over the 2kg limit. Thinks of her parcel as a little cuboid of home.

The Artist
Has a lot of free time. Picks a theme and runs with it. Will spend a LOT of money on items just to fit the theme. Themes such as holidays (Christmas/Halloween) and interests (TV shows/ hobbies) are common. Usually sends a mug or key ring that fits the theme. Box is sent in a rush hoping it’ll get there on time. Items sent are impractical, novelty and flamboyant. The Artist needs to then send a second parcel shortly of things their sailor actually needs. They feel embarrassed when writing the customs label and have no idea of the weight until they get to the post office, which, due to their insurmountable excitement, they make a special trip to go to. Usually five minutes before it shuts. This parcel is posted the day the parcel force man delivers the final item purchased through Amazon one click. Thinks of her parcel as a much a project to keep her busy, cheerful and focused as it is to him him entertained and happy.

20140925-143825-52705197.jpg

So, which parcel sender are you? Do you jump between the categories? I’ve probably left half out, but rest assured, no matter what kind of parcel sender you are, you are pretty awesome simply because you are sending a parcel.

Hope that raised a smile, and hope those countdowns are zooming by. Now off for coffee via the nearest Royal Mail depot.

Muchos love,
Olive
X

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!

Socialising and trying not to be mental.

I think being a navy wife has made me slightly unbalanced. Please feel free to judge me, because I feel quite guilty about it, even though I am actively trying to remain stable and rational.

Especially when I compare me, in my time-greedy-navy-wife marriage to “everyone else” and their civvy-wholesome-sensible relationships.

Let me explain a bit,

Popeye is generally away for six/seven months, then home for about 3 out of 4 weekends a month the rest of the year, bar lovely lovely leave. So suffice to say, our time together is precious. (This time of course does not include time apart for effing BOST, Super-Annoying-Promotion courses of Stress And Grumpiness, or SAPSAGs for short or any other ridiculous and possibly pointless jaunts around the home waters).

(As a side note I once calculated the actual number of days per year we would spend together, including summer and Easter leave. All I can say is DONT DO IT. Deployment Maths is evil and led to me having a massive cry and freaking out about how we were ever going to make this marriage work. Not a good idea mid deployment, or anytime for that matter.)

Without fail on those precious Fridays he can actually come home ( crazy idea I know) at approximately 4pm our world is paused and our metaphorical drawbridge goes up.

We hole up in our house and because a)he’s a chef b) I don’t want to leave his side for more than 10mins to shower/pee, we order takeaway and totally veg out. Then we spend the remainder of the weekend hiding from friends and relatives and generally being lazy, spending money we don’t have and eating out, a lot.

We do venture out from time to time and actually see other people, and when we do I have to remind myself to share. Share my husbands company that is.

I restrain myself from standing on the edge of the circle of guys talking about football and cars and simply strain my ears trying to eavesdrop from the girls circle, only vaguely listening to our conversation, and replying with vague “mmm hmm’s”, “yeah I know” and “no way”‘s as appropriate. This has back fired on me several times when I’ve said something like “yeah I know” to someone’s horrible bad/ serious news like their dog died or they’ve lost their job or they think they might be gay. There are times when I gravitate over to where hubster is and laugh a split second too late at a joke I haven’t really heard. Awkward.

If someone dares to say that we should split up for a bit during a night out, i.e boys go to a different bar, girls will catch up later, I get a bit of a sicky feeling, and I start doing Deployment Maths (Deployment Maths is a bit like OCD, so when this happens on a night out with friends you can’t help but calculate that out of the 48 hours he’s home for, he will spend 16 sleeping/being hungover, 8-12 hours socialising, you will spend x hours going to/from said friends house therefore leaving you with approximately 5 hours together all weekend. And he’s not home for another month.)

I KNOW how totally clingy and mental this makes me sound, I’m a trained psychologist remember, however, I am at the merciless grip of Deployment Maths. My only defence is that in these cases I don’t let the panic get me. I smile, wave goodbye to Popeye and quickly order a double, hey if he’s getting those 16 hours, I might as well too.

Popeye copes much better at social gatherings such as the above than I do. He is chatty to everyone, to the point where he’s sharing stories from life on board that I haven’t even been told. It’s like finding out about this whole side of him he doesn’t think is all that relevant or interesting when he’s home and we are hiding with the home phone off the hook.

If your sailor, like mine, literally sends a variation of the same email every day week for 6 months, these escapades and anecdotes of daring do’s and hilarious scrapes from deployment can leave you feeling, well, quite surprised and then miffed to be honest. Popeye literally sends this email to me 80% of the time whilst deployed, ahem:

hey baby, nothing much is going on here, same old stuff. I miss you loads and I can’t wait to see you, all my love, Popeye.

Every email. For 6 months. Seriously.

This has led me to conclude that he either-forgets about these adventures on the high seas/around the globe, can’t be bothered to tell me, or doesn’t have time to email me the details. To this day, I still have no idea which of these theories is true. I’m leaning towards the former as its not so depressing.

So when my super-sonic-social-gathering hearing picks up on how he stole a giant fish from a bar in New York and they got pulled over by the police with said giant fish in the back of their car, or how his friend broke his collar bone trying to do a breakdancing move in Norway or whatever, I am just a tad peeved.

Is it wrong that I feel a pang of jealousy that Popeye doesn’t share these stories with me when we’re sitting at home watching tv and snuggling on the sofa? Or is it that he doesn’t feel they are important enough to waste our precious paradigm phonecall minutes on? I’m not one to disapprove, in fact I think it’s bloody hilarious the stuff him and his shipmates get up to, so that can’t be it. No, it’s more likely that when he’s home he, and I, mentally “shut off” the outside world, including navy dits, bills, report writing or visiting my grandparents.

When he phones home its for a bit of escapism from what generally is drudgery day to day on the ship. He wants to hear about what he misses, not relive another day apart, no matter how much fun he’s had. Rather wait until he’s been home, had some downtime with the drawbridge up, then go out and entertain. My husband the social butterfly who just wants to come home and forget all about work. Until he’s got an audience. Bless him.