Consider the source

Yesterday at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, I briefly paused at a model of an aircraft carrier. This one was covered with miniature planes and people hard at work. A little girl, about 5 or 6 years old, pointed out the sailors to her little companions.

“This is how big people used to be in the old days,” she sagely informed them.

What she lacked in truth, she made up for in conviction.

Bits and pieces

I did not realize how exhausted I was until I had the opportunity to relax.

I spoke with an uncle last night who marveled that I drove so far with the kids. It was difficult, but not such a big deal. Of course, a woman I met years ago set the bar very high on such adventures. She drove from the East Coast to the West Coast while her husband was deployed. She had five young children and they camped along the way. Now that’s hard core. Me, I stopped at a motel and the trip only took 15 or 16 hours of driving. No big deal in comparison.

I had a turkey sandwich for lunch yesterday, but our main Thanksgiving dinner was lasagna. My dad doesn’t like turkey, so we never had that when I was growing up. In my adulthood, I’ve had turkey, mainly because my husband insists that it is the proper thing to do. My family is not so much concerned with tradition, especially when tradition does not please the palate.

My parent’s cat is unhappy about our presence. She has learned to avoid the children and the dog. The dog has learned that attacking the cat results in an electric shock (we have an electric dog collar). Mary has learned that cornering the cat results in pain. That was yesterday. Today she went back to trying to get close to the cat. I pointed to her hand and reminded her of the “owie” that the cat caused. She backed off, a little.

I’m contemplating going for a run. On the street, instead of a treadmill. But, having done this before, I’m hesitant to do it again, even if it isn’t the treadmill.

I’ve skyped with Bill several days in a row now. Happy to be here with a functioning computer instead of home with the large paperweight on my desk.

Off to the movies today. Planet 51.


Arrived in Florida in one piece. Didn’t lose anybody along the way.

I did lose my cell phone. Very inconvenient.

For the dog, decided to go with a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. It works just fine when you check in around 1130 PM and check out by 530 AM. And since my non-smoking room had obviously been occupied at some point recently by someone who did not observe that restriction, I felt that a small amount of dog hair was a minor issue.

Books on CD pass the time quickly.

We also had these Bingo cards. Reusable. No loose pieces. Lots of fun. Highly recommended.

We survived on junk food. I deprived them of liquid so they wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom. Also, the short stay at the motel ensured napping children in the car. That really helped.

I was, according to my good buddy Tom-Tom, only 3.5 miles away from my destination when I looked down and thought, “Oops, better lay off the accerator.” We had passed from a rural stretch of road with a 55 mph limit, into the town with a significantly lower limit. Too late. I looked up and saw the flashing lights.

Imagine driving well over 900 miles to get busted right at the very end.

He had mercy, and I got a warning.

Last night I went to bed at 830 PM local – 930 PM EST. Mary, of course, woke up at 330 AM local. After a bit, she went back to sleep, thank goodness.

I am relaxed. I have my parents to spoil me. Bill is starting to prepare for his return.

Life is good.

60 days instabilization

I fear my grip on my sanity is nearing its end. I think 8 days without a computer is heroic. But now that I’m trying to get ready for a very long car trip, it’s just not funny any more.

It’s like camping. It is fun when you plan for it. But to be suddenly roughing it without warning, the adventure grows wearisome quickly.

Anybody know any cheap motels in North Carolina that don’t mind dogs? I only plan to be there for a few hours to sleep. And tell me they won’t get all huffy about 6 children in the room with me. Sure, it’ll be tight, but we’re not moving in. I probably won’t even take a shower.

It’d be really nice to know how much money I really have in my checking account. Not just what it says online, but what my Quicken tells me I have.

But I think what is really doing me in are the micro-conversations I’m having with my husband via email, where it is uncomfortable to type long passages, or via phone where he either has a 15 minute time limit and some privacy or longer time but he’s in a room full of people.

Of course it is right now when I can’t communicate effectively that all hell is breaking lose.

Did I mention we’re moving? We’ve known this for some time, but there were two givens: we were going to Ft. Knox in Kentucky, and we had “60 days stabilization,” meaning we wouldn’t move for 60 days after his return.

Never believe anything the government tells you. Ever.

We are moving to Ft. Stewart in Georgia. We learned this a few weeks ago.

We are likely moving by the end of January. This is today’s news.

It’s ok. I can handle it.

But then I called Dell to see what the $(;/$& is up with my computer repair. The guy couldn’t help me.

Their computers were down.



This application claims to be able to post to Blogger. We shall see.

Computer guy was here yesterday and replaced the power unit and the mother board. That did not fix my computer. He ordered another part and hopes to return today. I hope so too. I’m leaving on Monday for nearly two weeks in Florida, and I really don’t want to come home to a broken computer.

Blogging and facebooking will still be limited. The iTouch is great, but my fingertips are sore.

Thank you all for your concerns and prayers. Sorry to leave everybody hanging. When I started getting worried emails and phone calls, I realized I had to do something. Isn’t Margaret the loveliest?

This is a Public Service Announcement

…from Margaret in Minnesota, who is more than happy to hack into Michelle’s blog and say the following:

Michelle is fine. Her family’s fine. Thanks be to God.

Her computer, however, is not fine. Her computer is decidedly unsympathetic to Michelle’s situation and has decided to take an indefinite break.

In other words, it’s broken.

Michelle will be back just as soon as she’s able. Meanwhile, you may pray for her and pray for Bill. Even better, you may send chocolate.

Send it in care of me, however. I will forward as much of it as I feel appropriate, given the inconsistent posting here at Rosetta Stone.

Yours on behalf of this blog and its AWOL blogger,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

4: 59 am: After an hour of tossing and turning on the bed, Mary decides it is time to get up.

5:01 am: Check email. Nothing from Bill. Haven’t heard from him in over 32 hours. His last email said something like: “I’m off on a trip. I’ll call when I can. I love you immensely and if this should be the last email you ever get from me, know in your heart that I will always be watching out for you and our precious children.” Or something like that.

5:03 am Put on Pingu for Mary to watch. Brew coffee. Say morning prayers. Read headlines off my iTouch. World has not come to an end while I slept.

5:28 am No email.

5:37 am No email.

5:51 am No email.

6:11 am No email. Get dressed. Lace shoes.

6:19 am Put on Dora DVD for Mary. Consider that she watches too much TV. Conclude that pediatricians who establish such guidelines do not have toddlers who wake up before dawn.

6:22 am Get on treadmill. Ponder whether I should call my mother first with any terrible news and then have her call my sister or if I should call my sister and then have her call my mother. Decide that I would be crying too hard to make any phone calls.

7:10 am The boys are awake, and I tell the girls to get up. Open front blinds. Look outside and check for strange cars with uniformed people inside waiting for signs of life so they can come knocking on my door to deliver bad news. See none.

7: 12 am No email.

7:29 am My watch alarm goes off. “Dad’s thinking about us,” announces Billy for the benefit of those in the next room. I smile, knowing that Bill’s watch alarm is also going off. I wonder, if he were dead, if anybody else would hear the alarm and know what it meant.

“Dad should be calling any minute now,” says Billy.

“No, honey, Dad is traveling. He doesn’t have access to his computer. He’s not going to call this morning.”

7:31 am My Skype ringer goes off. I guess he’s back. And not dead. I answer. I see his face. I smile.

I tell him about looking for a waiting car outside. He smiles and nicely tells me that I’m silly. And that I’m spoiled by daily communication. I agree. I am spoiled. Seeing my husband on the computer or getting emails from him every day is a luxury.

I wish my favorite soldier a happy Veteran’s Day. I suggest he take the rest of the day off to celebrate. Alas, a day off is also a luxury. He can take a day off in January.

Tonight, I tried to do my usual Wednesday night grocery run to the commissary. They closed early due to the holiday. I had long forgotten it was Veteran’s Day. By this evening, it was just Day 134 without my husband.

My Parrot

“DOG-nacious!” exclaims the four year old.

Dognacious?” I repeat, inquiringly. I look over at the boy, down on his hands and knees, sweeping the leaves into the dust bin, his afternoon chore.

Dognacious? From the root dogno meaning I walk on four legs?

“Oh! PUG-nacious,” he corrects himself.

DOG – PUG. I get it. He’s just repeating his older siblings’ vocabulary words. No big deal. I’m sure there are many preschoolers who randomly exclaim words like pugnacious all the time.

One day this child will write things, and I will need a dictionary to read them.

Because having only one kid with me IS a break

I hired a girl to come over once a week to watch the kids so I can get out. She came last week. And she came this past Wednesday.

Last week was fine. This Wednesday, Peter decided he wanted to come with me. I was less than enthusiastic about having his company, but I know very well the determined look that was on his face. Fighting him was not going to help the situation. I tried a different tactic.

“You don’t want to come with me, Petey. I’m going to church.”

“I want to go to church with you, Mommy.” Ah, such sweet devotion. He would walk through fire, or sit quietly in church, for me.

“I’m running errands, Pete. You don’t like to run errands.”

“I want to run errands with you, Mommy,” he insisted in a tone that betrayed his suspicion that I was on the verge of saying no.

Instead, I relented, and welcomed him. Really, a four year old is not as difficult as a two year old, especially if he has my exclusive attention. Besides, if I happily took with with me, perhaps he could see just how boring Mommy’s errands were and decide staying home building houses from leaves with his siblings was an infinitely better way to spend the afternoon.

And so we went. First, to the library where we looked only at grownups books since we had gone the day before for kids’ books. And then to the dry cleaners, a place devoid of entertainment. Then briefly into a tent in the parking lot that advertised furniture. Nothing interesting there. Then to the PX.

First, we explored the hair product aisle in search of some magic potion that would render his sisters’ tangled messes comb-able. And we looked at hairbrushes, since they constantly misplace theirs. Then we looked at lipstick. As I stared at the seemingly endless ocean of color choices, Peter kept busy a few feet away. When I looked over, I realized he was neatening the display. Instead of tubes of lipstick arranged in apparently random order, he had tidied it up and placed all the lipstick to the far left filling each slot before moving to the next column.

We put them back.

I did let him pick some chocolate in the checkout line, provided he share with me. He picked Lindt milk chocolates. Excellent taste.

Then off to a friend’s house to return some things. This was the only fun part, and I tried to keep it as brief as possible.

Then to Bed, Bath & Beyond for miscellaneous items, including my own stocking stuffers, which Bill will not be home in time to do. Buying one’s own stocking stuffers has certain advantages. I’m pretty sure I’ll like what I got.

Finally, off to church for as long as he could bear. OK, as long as I could bear.

Last night at dinner, I cheerfully asked him if we had had fun. He agreed. “And you’re coming with me next week, too…right?” I said with enthusiasm.

“No!” he stated, emphatically.

“Aw, come on. It was great. You have to come with me,” I insisted.

“No!” he said again.

Success! I thought triumphantly. And then Jenny spoke up.

“I’ll go with you,” she offered. Uhhh….

“We’ll go to church…” I warned.