Deployment Gifts for Broke Bitches

I mentioned in my last post a little anniversary book I made Adam before he deployed and that got me thinking. In several of the milso groups that I’m in, people are always asking what they can make/do/send their boyfriends/husbands/fiances/partners/ect. before they deploy. I thought I would make a little list of some of the things that I did for him before he left.

1. Calendar with important dates in them

I made Adam a little planner with all the upcoming important dates and important anniversaries. I wrote down all the dates we went on, when our first date was, when our anniversary was, my graduation, my birthday, my family’s birthdays, and so much more so he would feel included in everything. I also wrote little notes of encouragement on sticky notes and put them on random pages for him to find.

2. “Open When” Letters

So many people in the groups I’m in have done this. I thought it was such a cute idea and such a fun way for him to have a piece of me and how much I love him when we can’t physically talk to each other. I originally sent enough for him to open one a month but for his Christmas care package, I sent a few more so he had more to open. The topics were pretty easy to think of once I got going. Unfortunately, when I was writing them, I had been in a car accident a week or so prior and I was essentially high on painkillers when I was writing them. It’s always a laugh for us when he sends me a picture of the letter and I can see how ridiculous I was when I was writing them. In one, I drew a picture of a monorail for some reason and I’m not exactly sure why I did that.

3. Pictures and a picture frame

I went to Wal-Mart and printed some wallet-size images. I put one in a small frame for his bedside table or desk and the rest were just loose. He hung them up on his wall with tape. Some of the images were of me, some of us and some were just of places we had been. Florida, the beach, the lake, NC State’s campus, Holly Springs– just anywhere we had been and had fun.

4. A handwritten letter

When he went to a training in Florida, I sent him with some plane snacks and a little letter talking about how much I’ll miss him and how I can’t wait for him to come back. When he went to visit his family in California, I did the same thing. So, naturally, when he deployed I had to send another letter with him to read on the plane. It was like our last little private moment and it seriously made me feel so much better that he was taking a piece of me with him on the plance ride.

Honestly, all of these are super inexpensive, easy to carry and full of meaning. People seem to think big, expensive items are what they need to send and that’s honestly not the case at all. Small, meaningful and from the heart is where it’s at.

Long-Time, No-See

I mentioned in my last post that it had been a hot minute since I had written anything and that I was going to write a life update. Well, it’s here!

Relationship

Adam and I recently hit our double digit day! What that means is we hit 99 days until he comes home– hence, double digits. I don’t really want to say when we hit it for safety reasons (I’m still not totally sure what falls under OPSEC and what doesn’t) and just personal security reasons. We’ve kind of been preparing little-by-little for him to come home and making plans for what we want to do.

We’ve bought tickets for several little things after he comes home around the state. We’re going to a second chance prom hosted in Greensboro in early September and I’m so excited. I already have the dress I’m going to wear when we go and I know exactly how I’m going to do my hair and makeup. I really need to find some gold shoes or something similar to go with my dress. I wore it to my best friend’s sorority formal when Adam and I first started dating and he’s been wanting me to wear it again.

We’re also going to the Fayetteville lantern festival in October. I’m a little nervous about this one because it’s going to be a big crowd and it might be a little boring waiting for the lanterns to take off. It’s supposed to have live music, foods and things to do. So, basically, it’s concert meets state fair. The State Fair is also in October and, since he’s never been to a state fair before, I think we’ll get tickets and go this year. I went my freshman year of high school and even though my college was literally down the road from the fairgrounds (I could have walked or taken a bus to the fair), I don’t really enjoy the fair so I haven’t been in seven years.

I gave Adam his birthday gift early but he can’t enjoy it until November. In November, we’re going to the Legend of Zelda symphony in Durham. I had to tell him what was going on so he wouldn’t A) buy tickets for himself and B) make plans for that weekend. He also needed time to ask for a weekend pass or put in for leave. I have it so we’ll get off work, meet up at wherever we’re living and go. I’ve booked a room at a hotel in Durham for the evening so we’ll get dressed there. If there’s time, we’ll go out to dinner before the show. If there’s not, I’m taking him out to brunch the next morning. I think it’ll be a nice evening and it’s a very adult gift. It’s not us going out to a bar and getting blackout drunk to celebrate his birthday. I feel bad it’s having to wait until November when his birthday is in early July, but it is what it is. I’m sending him a little something for his birthday to tide him over.

Everything is going really well with us so far and I’m really happy with where we’re at. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much time to talk since he moved to night shift but we’ve been making it work. I think we’re both ready for him to come home. We’ve started making a list of apartments to check out when he comes home and I’m really excited to see where the world takes us.

Career

I started a new job but I’d like to remain rather tight-lipped about it right now. I haven’t even updated my LinkedIn with where I’m at now because I want to keep a lot very very private. I have my reasons for keeping it private and it has to do with personal security. I don’t want to really get into what I do, what my job title is and I’m definitely not telling where I work at.

I am super happy there. I enjoy my work, I enjoy doing what I’m doing and I enjoy going to work every day. I’ve been there officially for a month and I couldn’t be happier!

The Odyssey

I thought I was going to quit The Odyssey in May but I was talked into staying a little longer. I was getting burnt out, I had very few ideas left and I just didn’t have the time to devote to being a good contributing editor. Well, an amazing opportunity came up that I couldn’t pass by.  The Wake County Odyssey group was among the top 10 percent on The Odyssey. We had a healthy and active community since September 2016 and we’re still going strong!

Sidenote: if you want to apply to write with us, follow this link and look for Wake County North Carolina and join our team! My Editor-in-Chief or a contributing editor will reach out to you! 

As you may or may not know, NC State, my alma mater, is in Wake County. Our managing editor (basically my bosses boss) came up with the plan to merge Wake County with NCSU and make a new Odyssey group. The thinking was that while everyone in the Wake County group has ties to Wake County, not everyone has ties to NCSU. Well, this merge created a new executive board. My EIC was planning to leave in May because she was taking on a new role at her university and I was planning to follow. When we merged with NCSU, one of our star writers stepped up the the plate and said she would take on the Editor-in-Chief position. So what ended up happening was Blair took on the EIC job, Carey is now the secretary (meaning she keeps track of who is writing, who isn’t, what their topics are, ect.) and I took over the social media director position since the previous girl left. Our recruitment head stepped down to focus on her schoolwork and so the NCSU EIC stepped into her role and the strongest writers from NCSU are now the contributing editors. Confused? So is everyone else.

I now don’t write every single week; I turn in an article when we need just one more to be healthy and I have a few fun ones waiting in the wings when they’re needed. As much as I loved writing for The Odyssey, I just couldn’t keep up with everything I had going on. The social media director position is much more suited to me because it’s what I’ve done before in previous positions and I’ve been enjoying it so far. Also, if you want to read some amazing articles by some amazing writers, you should like our Facebook page. Just search @WakeOdyssey in the Facebook search bar and you’ll find us!

I think that’s everything that’s been going on recently. I’m feeling great, I’m sleeping well, I enjoy everything going on. For all intents and purposes, I’m happy!

 

Dealing With Loss When You’re Alone

Last Monday we got the news that my great-grandmother had passed. She was 96 years old and we were closer than you’d expect a great-grandmother and her great-grandchild to be. She was one of my heroes and I looked up to her my entire life.

Wednesday we went to the funeral and internment and it was, um, interesting to say the least. There was just a lot of unnecessary drama that wasn’t needed at a funeral. It could have waited at least until Maw Maw was in the ground but what’s done is done at this point.

But, one of the hardest things is knowing your partner wants to be there to support you and can’t be. Adam was there on Monday when the news broke but had to leave that night. It was a rough twelve hours; at 7 am, I got the news that my great-grandmother had passed and at 7 pm I had to leave Adam at the airport. Monday was probably one of the hardest days– emotionally– of my life.

My great-grandmother isn’t the only one I’ve lost while Adam has been deployed. I lost my grandfather (her son, actually) in November the same week of Thanksgiving. Ironically, we lost my grandmother, another of my dad’s family members, a week or so before Christmas two years ago. My family kind of sucks about holidays, I guess. But I’ve experienced significant loss during the 7 months he’s been gone.

Loss of a loved one is already something that’s incredibly difficult to take in and deal with and it’s even harder when you’re dealing with it alone. I hate to say alone because I had my family and we all came together to mourn and to heal but I was without my partner. You learn to rely on someone that you love to be by your side through everything.

What do you do when they can’t be there?

You just move on. There really isn’t a choice– you have to keep moving. Did Adam want to be there? Yes, he did. Did I want him there? Yes, I wanted him there. But sometimes, when you’re in that much pain, you can’t spend your time wishing and wanting for things that cannot happen. You just have to keep moving and going and being.

I know it sounds insensitive of me but what can you really do?

 

When He Has to Leave After Leave

Adam’s time on leave with me has finally come to an end. We spent a great few weeks together and enjoyed our time on vacation immensely. It was nice to get to sit together and do simple things like watch TV or make dinner together. We got to talk about doing laundry and how my day at work was. We got to talk face-to-face rather than over the phone and there wasn’t that terrible delay that you get with Facebook Messenger.

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Blue Ridge Parkway sightseeing

We enjoyed a lot of hiking.

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Climbing to the top of Split Rock at Grandfather Mountain

A. lot.

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The creek while waiting for our tour to start at Linville Caverns

I think we hiked every single day.

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Carefully scaling Blowing Rock

We had some birthday fun! It was my birthday, I turned 22 on February 23 and Adam really helped to make it extra special.

He made me breakfast in bed and even got me some cute cupcakes and put a candle in it. Which I blew out and made a wish, of course (I won’t tell you my wish, I really would like it to come true).

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All hand-made by Adam

We made some amazing dinners together (seriously, try this recipe and substitute the chicken with the shrimp. It’ll blow your mind).

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We walked around Historic Blowing Rock on my birthday while doing a little bit of window shopping and even got some ice cream.

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Ice cream from Kilwins. We had bought fudge there earlier in the week.

We went out to different breweries and I expanded my picky palate just a little bit.

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Cider from Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Of course, I think you can see a trend in the kind of alcohol I like to drink. Bring on the ciders!

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This was Mellow Mushroom– but it counts, right?

We saw a ton of weird stuff on our adventures.

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Giant wooden burl at Grandfather Mountain

We did a ton of touristy stuff at Old Salem like eating at the tavern and going to see the blacksmith.

We even found a little troll under the bridge.

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Adam gave me one of the most wonderful gifts for our anniversary. It’s a map of the world where we can put all sorts of pins in to signify different things. Green is where we’ve been, red is where we want to go, yellow is where we have a trip planned, blue is where family and friends are and black is where we have genealogical roots.

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It’s funny to look at because all his green pins are on the west coast and all my green pins are on the east coast. It’s a visual reminder of how lucky we are to have met.

We went out with my friends to celebrate our anniversary at the bar we had our first date at. It’s a fun bar to go to– even if you can’t talk over the music. It was a great way to celebrate being together for one year. To be honest, I’d probably get married at Rum Runners if that was allowed.

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Mango Tango fishbowl

All-in-all, it was a great month. The last day was sad but I just have to remember that we’re one day closer to the rest of our lives.

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