Brown tape and gingerbread men.

<This is an actual mid deployment email I just sent Popeye, my thoughts are added in italics.>

Hi Popeye, the kids are finally quiet in in the living room (eating ice cream and watching something American and squeaky voiced) and I thought now would be a good time to email you about how everything is here on the home front.

We have had a day full of good intentions , but, have been thwarted at every stage. We had planned to get your parcel posted today, then realised I had run out of brown tape.

Strong Packaging Tape, 50 mm x 66 m, PP, Brown (package 6 x 66 metres) |  Staples®
(If you live under a rock or something, this is the elusive brown parcel tape)

“There is a simple solution to this problem” I thought, “lets go to the local supermarket and purchase some, excellent, splendid”. So we decided to go to <Insert generic supermarket name here> for tape, jolly ranchers (Note that Popeye had specifically requested these for his parcel, as he had decided only american candy will do, and I of course have all the time and resources in the world to acquire said item, and do so with a quiet sense of matrimonial pride, obvs) and some new pjs and trousers for Sweetpea (who is growing taller at an alarming rate).

(These are jolly ranchers)
(If you dont know what this is, then theres nothing much I can do for you. Plus this blog post wont make much sense)

We also needed a gingerbread man cutter for making gingerbread (no shit). I was attempting to be a wholesome autumnal earth mother doing Nice Things At The Weekend.

I had a quick google and <generic supermarket> apparently dont sell gingerbread men cutters. So I thought:

“We can quickly nip/pop/dash to <large chain craft store> then go to <generic supermarket>. Simple”.

All before the post office shut at 12.30. Easy. So we get up and leave at about 10.30 (#achievement) and proceed in the torrential rain to <large chain craft store>. Sweetpea and Sproglet (now aged 6 and 4.5 dear readers) especially enjoyed it when mummy drove through the big puddles/floods making huuuuge splashes over the car. We get to <large chain craft store>.

The queue is along the whole front of the store, and around the corner. I suggest fucking it all off seeing if <generic supermarket> have any sodding gingerbread men cutters. This was met with severe disapproval from the board. SO at circa 10.50am we are found waiting in the sheeting rain, huddled in our 2m square boxes, limping towards the entrance.

WE GET IN.

Upon reaching the doorway and the member of staff (guarding) the entry way I feel the same rush of exhilaration I used to get upon entering a nightclub. Ignoring the feeling of dismay at my lost youth, I battled around the shop whilst the kids informed me they DESPERATELY NEED everything in sight because they miss daddy. I do not fall for their ploys. I tell them they can have something from here or a magazine from generic supermarket. The magazine offer wins. Then we round a corner and find the cooking section! (I also lost Sproglet for a minute or so at one point but thats another story, all was fine.)

They have sodding gingerbread sodding effing cookie cutters!

“Fuck yeah! I am a good Mum! Holy shit I CAN DO THIS!!! I ROCK!” I think.

However they are quite small, actually, they are teeny tiny. Sweetpea provides excellent verbal feedback that this will not do and is UNACCEPTABLE in a cookie cutter. She had much higher expectations and this pathetic excuse for a biscuit cutter does not meet her creative vision.

Undeterred ignoring her whinging, we venture forthwith to the tills. Only to be met with a queue to rival the one outside, albeit slightly drier. Then, right on time, Sweetpea needs the toilet, now, this very second. “No mummy I cant hold it in. We need to go noooooow.” Then bladder synchronicity occurs, as so often does with small children in public spaces, a strange phenomenon as now Sproglet too, needs the toilet and is jumping around declaring it to all customers and staff in the large chain craft store.

I admit defeat. We leave the full basket and the premises. I realise the garden centre next door has loos AND theres no queue.

Feeling that my luck may have FINALLY changed, we venture in. Only to suffer immediate auditory, visual and olfactory assault. There is Christmas shit EVERYWHERE. Bear in mind it is early October. I do love Christmas, but this looked like some kind of weird festive acid trip. The girls ran off, shrieking (again) about how we needed EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. My calls of social distancing and not to touch stuff falls on deaf ears, their bladders mysteriously reinvigorated at the sight of so much sparkly plastic tat. 

A K Haart: Where does the unsold Christmas tat go?
(This is a toned down version of the shop we went to, subtle, classy and understated in comparison.)

We ended up spending over £20 on, well, nothing much really, we got something for your parcel (still unwrapped and unposted, sitting in the dining room) and left. 

Upon securing the children ready for the drive, Sweetpea suddenly realised, she in fact felt very car sick. She felt car sick if I drove slowly, if the window was open or shut, if she closed her eyes. She did the puppy dog eyes and moaned quietly. She made fake retching noises. She stated her complete and utter inability to visit generic supermarket for essential parcel sending items and the hunt for the fucking cunting gingerbread cookie cutter.

I gave up. We came home and they had lunch, the mystery nausea disappearing as she realised we had pickled onion monster munch in the cupboard. 

vintage-exhausted-woman-photo | My OBT
(I have so much empathy with this woman.)


And so, my love I decided to buy everything on Amazon Prime. Fuck it all. Fuck it all to buggery. Jolly ranchers, brown tape and gingerbread paraphernalia will be here on Monday and I will get everything posted then, if I can, between work and the school run (which is at ridiculous 2.30pm now, basically just when my morning coffee has kicked in and im about to be fabulously productive working from home). And Popeye, when you reallllly think about it, by getting lots of stuff from amazon, im actually saving us money on boxes. So its win win. Sorry about the jolly ranchers.

We miss you loads and I hope youre doing OK. 
Loads of love, Olive


p.s I may make this into a blog post, its alright isnt it? Love you!!!!
p.s2- from Sweetpea- “Write I love you daddy and I hope you come back soon love from Sweetpea then do a full stop”.
p.s 3 from Sproglet- “love Sproglet.”

Mama’s had a day

Oh oh oh (or should that be Ho Ho Ho given the festive season is deffo upon us?) I have had a BAD day.

Compounded by the serendipitous sods law that this weekend Popeye is duty watch. Of course.

First of all- I committed a major Mum Fail. I forgot Christmas Jumper Day. This puts me squarely on Father Christmas’s naughty list. And Sweetpeas naughty list too if the meltdown she had in the playground this morning is anything to go by.

Picture the scene: It was a cool crisp morning. We were characteristically running late because Mummy had had too many Sauvignon Blancs and had stayed up to watch the election results come rolling in.

We briskly (because of the aforementioned lateness) walk across the playground and she notices that “EVERYONE IS WEARING CHRISTMAS JUMPERS MUMMY! Why have I NOT GOT MINE???”

As other parents dropped of their kids with a kiss on the cheek and a wish of “have a good day darling cherub!” My darling blessings had a meltdown, in the middle of the playground complete with loud wails of “why did you forget mummy- I TOLD you to check the newsletter!!!” (Sweetpea is 5 but has a better handle on current affairs in her world than many of the major politicians at this time).

So after chucking her at the classroom door I grabbed sproglet and we dashed back home. I found a sparkly Christmas-esque jumper, drove back and lobbed it at the unsuspecting receptionist.

“Now” thinks me “im glad that’s over…on with my day”.

I had planned to go to the garage to fix a slow puncture. It was only a 20 min wait, sproglet entertaining the other customers by trying out new cars to buy and being very excited that the map of the country on BBC news was blue- her favourite colour.

Over the polite/slightly annoyed chuckles of the other customers and vauxhall staff, I am informed that my tyre has a nail in it that has gone through to the inner bit and also it’s on the side of the tyre and therefore it cannot be repaired and I need a whole new tyre. (I have no idea what an inner tyre is or why the outside of the wheel is so vulnerable versus the middle bit but whatever).

I calmly enquire how much a new tyre will be. They reply. I think I may be having some kind of stroke. I ask them to repeat the figure. I have a mild panic as we are well skint in the run up to Christmas and we don’t have spare cash pouring out of our orifices to spoof away on tyres.

Luckily for me- I have my credit card. Strictly only to be used for Very Serious Grown Up Emergencies and definitely not to be used for any of the following:

  • Barbie Mermaid films on Amazon Prime
  • The latest series of The Handmaids Tale
  • Monthly beauty box subscription
  • Clothes
  • Emergency wine.

Even though I obviously would never EVER use my Grown Up credit card for the above- it mysteriously had drawn itself nearer its limit. I knew this, sitting in the Vauxhall garage. I felt a bit sick.

Nonetheless I knew I could use it for such an extravagance as a tyre. I pulled out my purse, to find the credit card, with hair flick and a confident smile to the garage man (no one wants the garage man to know you’re skint) aaaaand it’s gone.

Not there.

I give a high pitched slightly hysterical giggle and pull out ALL my cards. Debit card x 2, library card, national insurance card, driving licence, several old gift cards that have about £0.05 balances, zoo pass, gym pass, club card, THREE casino cards (embarrassing), my maternity exemption certificate (my kids are 3&5 years old-no idea why I still have that).

No credit card. Gone.

I turn to poor innocent Sproglet who has a penchant for being a light fingered Dickensian thief playing with mummy’s things and interrogate ask her is she’s nicked borrowed one of mummy’s special money cards. She claims innocence.

So- in front of alllllll the people there (who knew Vauxhall dealers were so busy?) we leave. We are on a quest (I tell myself)- a quest to Find The MasterCard of Destiny.

We are cast out of the warm confines of the Vauxhall dealers. Out into the cold cold winter wind.

The main problem with this quest is that it is mid December. And on the day of the quest we were running late for the school run and there was the whole evil Xmas jumper day forgetting mother drama- so we

were NOT dressed for extreme cold. We had coats over T-shirt’s. No hat scarves or gloves. It was bitterly cold. Sproglet started crying. She fell over twice during the long trek back home. All the time I was worrying about where the fuck she had hidden her thief stash accidentally left my credit card.

We (eventually, after many trials and tribulations) get home. I set her up watching CBeebies (standard). I go for a fag and swear at the sky immediately start looting methodically searching the house.

I looked ALL MORNING. It was gone. Disappeared. Vanished.

Bollocks.

So I check my banking app. Hmm several transactions from Luxembourg. I have never been to Luxembourg. In fact I probably have only ventured as far as London in the last few months. I’m not entirely sure where Luxembourg is.

This is Luxembourg. Looks lovely doesn’t it. Shame it’s filled with credit card stealing twats.

Shit.

I ring Popeye. It goes to that snooty bitch otherwise known as “Voicemail” because he’s on ship.

I leave a second “losing my mind” voicemail (the first was mid walk home when I was cold, alone panicking and ashamed- I may have also sworn at him a bit- uncalled for. My bad).

Give up on contacting my husband. Remember I’m a Navy Wife. Realise I can do this. This is nothing compared to what I’ve coped with before.

I ring the bank. I speak to a lovely lovely lovely man called Rishi (who also spoke to Sproglet who was watching Moana- Rishi apparently looks like Maui- they spent some time bonding over this whilst I was trying to sort out my life).

Disclaimer: this is in no way an accurate representation of Rishi and his amazing customer service skillz

Rishi calmed me down and sorted out my funds. Credit Card is locked.

Me and Sproglet walk back in appropriate winter attire. By this time it’s time to pick up Sweetpea from school. We get home. Popeye rings. He has not heard the manic, panicked voicemails. I fill him in.

He has the termerity to ask me “what else did you manage to get done today?”.

My head explodes.

I open the wine and blog about it.

If you’re a military spouse- you get it.

As they say in Luxembourg- Proust!

Muchos love,

Olive x

P.s- also this:

Xxxxx

It’s all about the words, bout the words, no treble.

I’ve been finding it hard to blog lately. Like real hard.

I’ve been being a full time mum, working for the NHS in a vaguely serious if-you-fuck-up-at-work-someone-could-get-really-hurt capacity.

I’ve had to accept my childhood demons. I’ve even named them. I’m working through all that shit and I’m doing ok. Popeye is here, but he’s not really (in my head) because he’s like, totally drafted to an actual ship and stuff.

I love blogging. I love being 100% honest with you. But I’m beginning to think the reason I haven’t blogged so much recently is because, well, the truth hurts.

I know you read this because it picks you up when darling sailor has buggered off for X number of months.

I know you read this because you (bloody rightly so) need a giggle on an evening.

I know that this blogging malarkey helps you guys. Like. Just a tad. In the utter shit storm of deployment I hope it’s a teeny weeny nugget of “yeah yeah that’s MEEEEE”.

Because that’s what I get from it too.

I just write some stuff down, don’t proof read (apart from typos- and even then I think fuck it), I don’t first draft or second draft. I don’t send it to my NWBFF for a quick “is this mental?” Check. I just write.

And you lot read. And you read and you read and you like. And you comment. And you message.

And sometimes you massively disagree which is GREAT because I have no idea what I’m doing and maybe you guys do.

So. I guess that’s what this blog post is all about. God sometimes I wonder if I should do videos. But that’s impractical because a- you would see my actual face

B- it would be some lame millennial thing that I don’t quite understand

C-(this is lame) I love seeing my thoughts be actual printed words on a screen. Because I know that words and feelings can be translated in that way.

In the way that only a military partner really gets. Reading that email. Getting that familygram. That true expression of love and faith against all odds.

Put down in text.

It’s all about the words.

From them.

To you.

From you.

Thank you.

Muchos love,

Olive x

Super Positive Coping Mummy

Obvious statement alert: Deployment with children is very different to deployment when it’s just you to think about.

I mean, there’s the stuff  you kind of know you’re going to have to do; like explaining where mummy/daddy is, doing countdowns with sweets and sticker charts et al but what about the other stuff?

The stuff pre-children-navy-wife-olive had no idea about whatsoever.

Before starting a family I could (and did) wear pjs for a whole weekend, eat my weight in ice cream and have mad nights out with friends to numb the pain. I could cry at leisure and put on destinys child full blast whilst painting my toenails at 11pm at night because it made me feel better.

Now I have to be Super Positive Coping Mummy. SPC Mummy puts on a brave front, answers any and all heartbreaking “where’s daddy?” Type questions with a smile and a biscuit. SPC Mummy doesn’t drink (much) lovely lovely wine the night daddy goes because no matter what SPC Mummy is available 24/7 to attended to all and any small people needs. Including needing jam on toast at 5 freaking AM. SPC Mummy doesn’t get to watch soppy films all morning huddled under the duvet with chocolate, SPC Mummy is carrying on with going to the park, walking the dog and remembering to take carrier bags with her to Lidl.

Pre children when Popeye rang I was able to (literally) drop everything, hurdle the dog and drop roll over the coffee table to get to the phone.

Post children- I have missed the phone ringing due to bathtimes, being stuck under a sleeping newborn who has finally gone to sleep with the phone just out of reach, not to mention the ringtone obliterator that is sodding tots n tunes. Ten or so toddlers “singing” wind the bloody bobbin up is unsurprisingly incompatible with hearing Popeyes personalised “captain Pugwash” ringtone.

And if by some strange fluke of chance you actually get to answer the phone you now have to share those precious few minutes with a small person covered in jam that just wants to talk about Peppa Pig/ an interesting stone they found/ how mummy won’t give her another chocolate egg (side note: my daughter is still devastated Easter is over. Several months later she still blames me).

I never even considered having to explain to my toddler that every single boat does not have daddy on it. I never thought for a second that I would have to compare our family unit to that of Danny Dog from (of course) that Pig cartoon. Because Danny’s daddy goes away then comes back and decides to never leave again. So thank you for that conversation Peppa. Because my daughters daddy isn’t coming home for a long long time and then will have to go away again. And again. Unlike Mr Dog.

During bedtimes (when no one will just go the heck to sleep) I’ve daydreamed about a cartoon where there is an actual military family portrayed, showing our strength and resilience. Demonstrating the sacrifices we make in every day situations and it’s no biggie. How we switch from being a parenting team to the practical equivalent of single parents in the blink of an eye.

SPC Mummy probably should have her own TV show. Or at least a cape.

If it were a cartoon the most important thing it could  give my daughters is an example of how our military family is a normal family.

Even if they do have jam smeared on their faces and stones in their pockets, this is their normal and now a deployment with children has become my normal too.

SPC Mummy- away!!!!

*swirls around in her cape and flies off to solve another deployment related toddler question*

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 

    Eating cake in the name of charidee

    This Saturday just gone I put on my first charity coffee and cake fundraiser for the fabulous charity Little Troopers


    It was a total success and we raised a fantastic £120!!! 

    #proudface all round.

    There were, of course a few hiccups on the way. Including the first (and only solo) attempt at baking I did. That resulted in a whole batch of “fugly” cupcakes that we sold at a discount, because hey, fugly cakes need homes too.


    We were given a mahoosive stack of boxes of cupcakes from Morrisons that were absolutely delish and had been baked fresh in store the day I collected them and hand decorated so beautifully- totally put my fuglies to shame tbh but I’m OK with that as it was for charidee.

    Big props to Chris from Morrisons in Portsmouth for sorting us out with that scran. You are a legend and totally squared us away.

    Other shout outs are needed for the lovely lady in charge of Cockleshell Community Centre- Kerry. Who set up the room the day before, sorted out the raffle tickets and showed up with a large amount of meat even though she had a horrendous migraine. Nails. 


    Not forgetting my civvy best mate Aime for her amazing face painting skillz including the full range of spider man characters including actual venom omg.


    My NWBFF Emma and her hubby Dai (off of Wales). They turned up the day before and sorted out my crap baking skills and helped me learn to weigh my eggs and how to pipe buttercream. They also taught me that cocoa powder is not the same as hot chocolate.


    And that it is especially not the same as hot chocolate that went off in 2014.
    And the awesome Charlotte who rocked up bang on 9am when I was running shockingly late (I managed to get lost on the way- even though I’ve been there several times before- don’t ask). 

    Now I had never ever met Charlotte, but in true Navy wife style she surveyed the thinly veiled chaos I had created and calmly asked me how she could help and got on with cutting out prices and signs and stuff. She was un-flusterable and for that, I salute you.


    Me on the other hand, I was not quite so calm. I arrived shockingly late,  met my baking gurus Emma & Dai standing outside looking a tad perplexed as we couldnt get in yet.

    Cue pacing and phoning and my hair getting more and more sweaty. We got in and got set up just in time. All thanks to the fantastic team of people who got stuck in. I’m not exaggerating when I say if had been all down to me it would have been a bit shit. It was a real team effort and it was So. Much. Fun.

    We ate a lot of cakes. 

    We drank a lot of coffee.

    We swapped navy horror stories.

    We may have swapped incompetent husband stories. But the feminist in me won’t admit to that.

    Helen went home with a big piece of meat. She was very happy with this.

    I met up with loads of the wives from Popeyes old ship. It was FANTASTIC to see them all again and has inspired another NW Night Out soon.

    My kids ran around screaming on a sugar high with face paints. Actually everyone else’s did this too, to be fair. 

    Although only my daughter decided to pull her trousers and pants down in the middle of the room in front of everyone shouting “I NEED THE TOILET NOWWWWW”-( hey you can’t win them all).
    It was great and I’m sure I’ve forgotten lots of stuff. I want to do another one before Christmas and vary the location to get as many people as possible involved. 


    So keep your eyes peeled as I will be cobbling something else together in December- 

    Hope you can make it!

    Muchos love,

    Olive x 

    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 

    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?

    The meaty middle

    The meaty bit of the deployment. The middle bit, the big chunk where you’re a few months in and you’ve got a few months to go.

    That’s where I’ve been. 

    I’ve been keeping my head down, coping.

    Get up, get washed, get dressed and keep busy. Drink wine and eat quavers. Repeat.

    Let me make this clear to my civvy readers-time has not gone quickly. But it has gone. 

    I’m utterly bamboozled by this fact. I don’t entirely understand how I have done this middle bit. At the beginning 9 months was utterly paralysingly terrifying. Still is to be honest. 

    But now it’s utterly paralysingly terrifying with a twist of bewilderment and a silent air punch of pride. 

    IVE ALMOST BLOODY DONE IT LADIES AND GENTS!


    I’ve kept the kids alive and not had a total breakdown!

    I’m chalking it up as a big fat WIN.

    As the reality that I’ve almost done it hits its actually a bit unsettling. I keep stopping and asking myself how did I get here?

     How have I done this?

    Has he really been gone for 7 months?!?!

    Is he actually coming back?!

    On one hand it feels like he’s been gone an eternity, on the other it feels like maybe a few weeks, a couple of months. 

    And as this self awareness dawns on me it hits me. The absolute totally all consuming longing to have him home.

    Justcomehomejustcomehomejustcomehome

    So near and yet so far from the finish line. 

    This ladies (and gents) is the final push. That last bit of energy and positivity that you have to dredge up from somewhere in your gut to keep going right up to the end.

    I was happily plodding along with the meaty middle bit of the deployment and suddenly the realisation that he will be home soon(ish) hit me.

    I kind of wish it hadn’t to be honest. A few more weeks  in my “meaty middle bit” bubble would’ve been most welcome. 

    It’s time for that final sprint! And I’m ready.

    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