The First Two Weeks And Other Rantings…

It’s been about two weeks since I have checked onboard the ship and even though I want to happily report that everything is everything but I can’t.  I feel like I have stepped back into the Stone Age.  How can we as a Navy look so modern on the outside and then be so primitive on the inside?  I have to tell you, I’m so disappointed.  I was hoping the rumors would not be true but alas, here I am stuck on this mountain without working Internet.  I mean this is 2015 and I should not be having this conversation about a ship that’s less than ten years old…

Maybe I was expecting too much.  Let’s just forget about the Internet for a second and talk about the very first meal that I had on the ship.  I had a chunk of rib and a chicken patty.  Correction, I had hairy ribs and an ice cold chicken patty.  I could have possibly taken a chicken patty out of my freezer and served it up on a plate.  The other Sailors and I stood in these self serve lines that were ridiculously long because it is of course self serve and no one has the spirit of haste when they are mauling over the food trying to decide what to eat.  There’s only one word to describe the scene.  Disrespectful.  Better yet, that’s how three Sailors in line described the food service.  I made a promise to one of my mentors that I would at LEAST give the food onboard a chance.  Surprisingly, my mentor was a chief the last time he was eating aircraft carrier food so he wouldn’t have had to experience the junior enlisted side of the house anyway…

I had a Chief, scoff at the idea of standing in line for chow yesterday.  He already knew that it was beneath him and the food he was about to receive was going to be less than great.  How is this okay for us?  The common folks.  I’m sure their food isn’t any better taste wise but it’s all in the presentation.  If you serve shit on a dirty plate it’s unappealing.  If you serve shit on a pretty plate it’s a little bit more desirable…

I’m slowly finding my way around the ship.  I think I only took ten wrong turns last week versus the week before.  I think I am being forced to learn my way around quicker than normal because of the fact that the heads (toilets) aren’t working onboard in almost all of the spaces.  This is a story for another day because I don’t want to get into trouble with my real thoughts on this…

We had the Chiefs exam last week also.  It was freezing cold…so my feet, hands, and knees were numb.  It takes a lot for me to be cold so when I say I was freezing, I’m not exaggerating.  I was cold the first hour but by the second hour I just wanted the torture to be over.  Between the cold and the absolute bullshit questions, I wanted to take my lighter out my pocket and just burn the shit up.  I might have even warmed up for a hot second…

Time is moving along pretty fast so that means I will be getting underway soon.  My mental is like lets just go ahead and get this over with.  I have talked to my son about my pending underway time and his responses make me feel like he’s already disconnecting himself from the entire situation.  I took him to Walmart to get a calendar so that he could mark on it the days that I will be gone so he has some kind of idea of what’s going on. (He finally decided on a calendar and keeps asking to put the stickers on.  He doesn’t fully understand the significance of it yet but he will very soon.). He kept giving me the sad face when I would ask him which calendar did he want.  Everyone keeps telling me to take him to the ship so he can have an idea of what or where I would be…

I know I shouldn’t but I feel like I live a double life.  I don’t want to have my lives intersect yet.  Maybe once I’m okay with my own feelings then I can bring the kids onboard and let them see the shit hole I live in, as of right now, I just can’t.  Maybe I am being selfish a little but I like my home memories to be home memories.  I don’t want to remember how amazed he was to see the inside of a ship.  I don’t want those memories.  I want my family to stay locked away in a box while I’m gone.  I will pull them out once a week like I always do because I will miss them but I just won’t allow myself to miss them.  I made a mental checklist for what I need to get done sooner than later…

  1. Buy my toiletries and linens
  2. Pack and take my stuff onboard
  3. Buy extra food (be mindful of the sodium amounts)
  4. Pick up some Dramamine (as a precaution…it has been a while)
  5. Standby for official departure date
  6. Give all 3 girls my email address and have them send me a confirmation email

To be honest, I don’t what the point of this post is.  I’m writing to take my mind off of things.  I apologize for the post ahead of time.

Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence,

You did good today!  I was especially proud of you when you tried hard not to cry when your baby boy was upset because he thought you had already left and got underway.  No one knows how you cried at the daycare yesterday when the teacher asked when you were leaving.  No one knows that you had to fight tears in the car, at your desk, or any place that you were alone.  No one knows your secrets but me.

I’m glad that when your held back tears became anger because you honestly and truly didn’t want to hear another person tell you, that you joined the Navy and why are you surprised to be going to sea.  I’m just glad that you held your ground and didn’t let your anger overcome you.  The last thing you need at this point is to start pissing people off with that smart ass mouth of yours.

Trust me, I understand that you want to fall to pieces and that your heart is tearing up inside with the thought of being away.  Put your shell on, no one is going to judge you and if they do, FUCK them.  No one walks in your shoes but you.  No one can tell you how to feel, what to feel, or even how you respond to how you feel.

I know, I know…they say kids are very resilient.  That’s cool when it pertains to other people’s children.  You know that you can’t shield your children from pain in life and it’s hard when you, yourself are the one inflicting pain on them.

I do have a bit of advice for you…remember that the kids are going through something right now also.  They have to say goodbye too.  They also have to endure a separation, not just you.  No matter how hard it is for you, don’t forget to give them their moment to express themselves.  It’s easier to push them away, however, in the next few weeks you are going to have to do better at giving them comfort.  Your a badass, I know it but no more leaving them out in the cold emotionally.

You can’t stop now…17 years is a long time.  Your almost at the finish line.  Don’t be sad, you won’t be gone for long.  You can get through this, you once loved the life of a Sailor, enjoy it while you can because once 20 gets here you will look back and wonder where the time went so fast.

As always, I love you…
Sailor, Wife, Mom

Countdown to the Ship Part Two

In three days, I’m reporting to my new ship and I have to tell you my nerves are on edge. Every night this week, I’ve made that late night trek to the snack closet trying to eat away the anxiety that I’m feeling.

I thought I would have a few weeks before I got underway but that’s not the case. I keep thinking about my son over and over again because I know this is going to be his very first look at what mommy does. For him, it’s his indoctrination to being a part of a Navy family. I wonder how he will feel. Will he be sad? Will he misbehave? Will he cry a lot? Or will he just adjust like everyone tells me he will?

Better yet, how will I do? Will I hold it all together? Will my hard shell still fit or will it not fit because I have been penetrated by these little people for too long?

I should be used to this by now, I mean I’ve been at this now for 17 years. The last 4 1/2 years have ruined me. Somewhere in between these years I’ve discovered motherhood. I’ve learned that I do have feelings. The mask came off probably around the first year of being on shore duty.

I’m so overcome with emotions. More to come.