Dog poop vs navy life

This actually happened the other day. 

The phone rings- I go all Phone Ninja and leap the dog to answer it- it’s Popeye of course.

My heart leaps, my pulse races- just to hear his voice on the other end of the line is AMAZING.

“What’s that I can hear in the background?” He asks.

“I’m cleaning out the bath with bleach” replies me, “we had a toddler incident this afternoon involving dog poo, bare feet and the slide- so what have you been up to?” <frantic scrubbing>

“Oh it’s awful here I’m missing home so much”.

“Yes Popeye we miss you so much too- but what have you been up to?”

“Nothing much, you know, I’m so so tired I’ve just sat by the pool and read my book”.


I pause from scrubbing possible dog shit residue out of the bath and stand there in our bathroom with bleach water dripping down my forearm.

What did you just say?”

Not realising the danger he’s in, the poor tired lamb, repeats himself.

“I just rested by the pool and finished my book”. 

I give a slightly maniacal laugh, perfectly timed against the background noise of toddlers screaming and yelling and some suspicious thuds coming from the living room.

“You. Have. No. Fucking. Idea.”

I literally bite my tongue. I’ve never done that before. It hurts but it works. It stopped me from going nuclear on Popeye.


I managed to condense it down to only a five minute rant about his lack of perspective, empathy or understanding of what my day to day looks like.

Because I bit my tongue I managed to scale it back to only a handful of F bombs and C words.

Because I bit my tongue I only once told him that he has no idea I would actually shave all the hair off of my head to be sitting by a pool reading a book. I would buy a wide brimmed hat and style it out. 

I then stuttered that I had to go. Hung up on him and poured myself a very large wine.

I stuck my feet in the paddling pool and read slow cooker recipes off of my phone. 

That’s basically the same thing, right?

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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

Post Telephone Sadness Disorder (PTSD)

Phone calls. They are, for some military wives, the silver lining in the shit storm of deployment.

You look forward to them, keep the phone near you, you might organise a good time to call or you might get the surprise of your life, anytime day or night, of the home phone going and the mad scramble to answer it, abandoning any menial task (like feeding your baby), to race towards that noisy cuboid full of promise. 

A phonecall from your sailor is a drug, and you never know when you’re going to get your next hit. And boy oh boy how you  crave it.


To hear their voice can be the pivotal point of my week, the elation I feel when I hear his answering “hello, it me” is bloody mighty. 

And then it’s over, they have to go back to work, or get in the taxi in some tropical haven, or (more likely) you get cut off suddenly. 

After the phonecall, I suffer a massive comedown-  I get Post Telephone Sadness Disorder, PTSD. 

Post Telephone Sadness Disorder is characterised by the following-

  • Moping
  • Looking at Facebook photos of Popeye
  • Staring at the home phone willing it to ring again
  • Temporary consumption of excessive amounts of chocolate (on a school night) or port (love a bit of port) and quavers
  • Alternating between big cuddles for the sprogs and shutting myself in the kitchen because they are doing my nut in. 
  • More moping
  • Rereading emails I’ve sent and he’s sent
  • Random sighing
  • Watching twilight (I don’t know why, I guess phone PTSD effects us all differently). 

Luckily, unlike its much more serious name twin actual PTSD, the effects of phone PTSD are relatively short lived, don’t (significantly) effect daily functioning and (hopefully) invokes pleasant flashbacks and memories.

Phone PTSD is a bitch. But it’s a condition I’m happily putting up with because the phonecalls are so worth it. Now I think about it, it really is actually a bit like a drug comedown (I imagine, I have no experience unfortunately I’m far to boring for any wild youth experience in that department). 

But it’s a side effect of deployment that we’ve got to live with. A bitter sweet reality that adds a little variety to the day to day routine and the (fucking huge massive scary) countdown. 

It’s a condition that we do live with. Another aspect of deployment civvies never really understand, so I like to do it in style, quavers and port at the ready. 

I’m a Finalist! 1 of 2

So I’m now a FINALIST for a MAD blog award. 

(I’m supposed to do clever hashtaggy  things now btw so here goes- #MADblogawards -done). 

I literally don’t believe it!  The timeline from when I found out basically went like this:

0-1 mins:”omgomgomg no WAY!”

2-3mins: Silent screaming, heart thumping and jumping up and down doing  Rocky Balboa arms in my kitchen v quietly so as not to wake the terrible twosome. 

3-4 mins: checked I hadn’t made a mistake by looking at the nomination page a gazillion times.

5 mins- called Popeye. No signal. No answer. Straight to voicemail. Standard, he’s below deck. Be cool Olive, be cool. 

5-30 mins calling my mum (“oh darling I am so proud of you! This is amazing! Is it in London? (Yes) Out of how many blogs?(8 freakin thousand mum) oh wow! Wait hang on *tells everyone on the ward where she works*”.

At some point: – called Popeye. No signal. No answer. Straight to voicemail. Standard, he’s below deck. Be cool Olive, be cool. Seriously BE COOL.

And called my sister “AHHH THAT IS SO COOL! Whaaat are you going to wear???? Will the press be there? You are basically famous now sis- hey wait I get to be your plus one right? RIGHT???”

Tried (again) and called Popeye. No signal. Again. No answer. Again. Straight to voicemail. Again. Standard, he’s below deck. Again. Just breathe, Olive it’s not his fault.

And my little bro: “Wow that’s really cool. I don’t really read your blogs but the ones I’ve seen are quite funny. I’m off out to a Uni Party right now so can’t really talk but yeah totally whatsapp me the link to the nominations page “.

Ok ok, let’s just try again-  called Popeye. No fucking signal. No bloody answer. Straight to twatting voicemail. Standard, he’s below the stupid deck on the bloody arsehole ship. 


So I may have left a slightly shitty, slightly cryptic voicemail for Popeye and then poured myself another glass of Pinot Grigot Blush from Lidl, and posted a HUGE EXCITED post on my Facebook Page to all of my lovely, gorgeous and fantastic followers. 

Then I basically kept pressing refresh on the finalist nominations page in a state of slightly tipsy disbelief, until I realised it was way past bedtime.

Rock and Roll! 

I realised the irony of not being able to contact Popeye as I walked up the stairs with Sproglet on my hip (we have no bedtime routine for her btw- mum fail).

The whole reason I started this blog was because of stupid navy crap like not being able to get in touch with the love of your life when you need to. 

And that’s (maybe) one of the reasons it got nominated in the first place. 

So really I owe Popeye, my dear un-contactable sailor, and by extension, the annoying, heart breaking, heart racing, plan ruining, day making Royal Navy, a bit of a THANK YOU really. 

For messing with my head (and my life) so much I wrote this blog in the first place. 

Tots100
P.s you can totally vote for me as Best Lifestyle Blog by clicking on this link right here 
Muchos love, Olive X 

Professional Phonecall Extender

I’ve got a secret hidden talent. 

I can spin out a phonecall exponentially if I know Popeye has to go to bed/back to work/emergency fire drill.

It’s not a particularly useful talent unless you’re a communication-starved-military-significant-other. And I am.

And this talent, for stringing out conversations, doesn’t show itself at other times, when other people call me. When they have to go I just say something like “ok was great catching up, take care, bye!”

But with Popeye I’m a Professional Phonecall Extender. I suddenly remember essential information I just have  pass on. 

  
 Hilarious anecdotes about the kids I have to share ASAP. 

Important household management stuff like garden waste collection dates or what the go compare bloke has told me about car insurance. Information that just can’t wait. 

This easily buys me between 5-10 extra minutes of conversation. (Meh heh heh.) It creates side conversations to explore and new topics to bring up and chat about.

These “new shoots” of discussion can get me anything from 1-15 minutes of precious communication. 

By now though, he’s beginning to rumble me. And he’s worrying he will get in trouble/be exhausted for rounds tomorrow. 

So I bring out my final card.

Pretending to give a crap. 

  

“Tell me more about this Materials and Safety check you have soon. It sounds absolutely fascinating!

“So how exactly do you do a Store Ship? Mmm hmm, yes, oh right…”

Wow Popeye it’s soooo interesting, of course I want to hear about your weekend leave rotation plans, I can’t get enough of this stuff!”

Etc, etc. 

Pretending to give a crap buys you a few more minutes of hearing your sailors voice. Big drawback is that you are then expected to remember all the stuff they tell you. Big plus point is whilst the are chatting on about duties and inspections you can be thinking of other things to tell them to create more new shoots of conversations!

Et voila! 

Practise your skills and soon a ten minute phonecall will be a twenty. “Right I’ve really got to go now” won’t fill you with dread but rather, excitement of a new challenge; and you will get to have a few more minutes of contact plus getting wife/girlfriend points for listening and stuff.

Score.

(FYI My personal best is 35 extra minutes after the initial “I’ve got to go now babe” btw- can you beat it?!)

Muchos love,

Olive X