Side Note:

Side Note:
For those who haven't figured it out, or haven't been here: The titles of most of the blogs here are song lyrics. If you google them, it should take you to the song and the song is good to listen to before, during, or after reading to help set the tone of the blog. I find music to be very cohesive with reading and writing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Goats May Eat Garbage, But They Make Tasty Cheese...

Good evening! I'm still visiting my brother, John, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law, Beth.  After a long day of shopping with Beth for her wedding dress and my bridesmaid dress we decided to stop off at a little local grocery store here to check it out. Turns out it is quite the diamond in the rough. A lot of gourmet and ethnic foods as well as a myriad of fresh produce including things that are a little more rare in the regular grocery stores. (Lychees, prickly pears, jicama, japanese cucumbers and infinitely more options.) I've never had goat cheese but always wanted to try it, so I bought a small piece and we came home and, after Beth's Let's Get Crafty class (definitely should check the link out, you can make your own custom cards so much cheaper than store bought and its so easy and they are gorgeous,) we made a cheese plate. I like the contrast of the sharp flavor with the creaminess. Its also tasty with the huge grapes we picked up from the market as well. Now that I've gabbed a bit about my day, I'll get back into the background story. Now it's time for how I became an Army wife.
Erik had always desired to be a fireman, police officer or an EMT. Pretty much, he wanted to help people and make a difference. To be any of those things you must be 21. When Erik and I met, he was 19. That meant nearly two more years before he could even begin training to achieve any of those goals. We were both working (myself at a popular ice cream franchise and Erik at an even-more-popular superstore) and it was unfulfilling for both of us. I liked my job, but my hours sucked and the people I worked with were sad excuses for human beings, let alone coworkers. Erik felt like working his job wasn't getting him anywhere but didn't know what else to do.
Well. We happened to live in Clarksville, Tennessee, which is right outside the gates of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne Division. (Screaming Eagles, HOOAH!)  And of course, I happened to come from a military family. My dad is retired military. My grandpa is retired military. My cousins are all in the military. My best friend is a military wife. After seeing how all these peoples' lives were effected by the military (and after a lot of talks, considerations, and prayer) Erik approached me with this. I was very torn, to be honest. I love and support the military with my whole heart, but at the same time growing up in Clarksville and especially seeing the things my best friend, Heather, had gone through with deployments I was a little more than terrified. Not too mention I remembered what it had felt like when Erik had to go back to California and all I could see was him leaving over and over and over. But I also saw the benefits. Erik would be doing something to train now instead of waiting two years. He would be helping people and making a difference like he wanted to. Erik saw more than that though. Erik saw a way to provide for us. A way to ensure we head healthcare, a steady income, housing and with his GI Bill and bonus college fund I'd be able to finish school and he could further his education while in the Army.
Erik, my mom, my dad and myself all went to the recruiter together. Erik went for obvious reasons. I went to support him and to learn anything I could. Dad went to filter through the BS that we knew the recruiter would feed us. Mom came as moral support and additional filtering. We started the process but hit a snag. Erik's measurements and weight didn't meet requirements. His large build allowed for a heavier weight, but not as heavy as what he was at the time. (Hey, what can I say? I know how to cook.)
I could tell how much he felt like he let us down. I didn't want him to feel like that. He felt trapped again.
Then out of nowhere, a spur of the moment decision after the wedding:  My step-dad, Burt, offered Erik a job. If we moved to Kansas, we could stay with them until we could get our own place. Meanwhile, Erik could work as a construction laborer for the company Burt worked for and the work would help him lose weight and provide a better income for us in a lower cost-of-living area. We packed up and moved 2 days later.
To skip a great deal of unnecessary details here, Erik worked and Erik worked out and got down to the required measurements and enlisted. He enlisted as a 68W, which is code for Combat Medic, and then we played the waiting game. You see, with the lovely recession that we were in, and as I type now still are, meant that everyone who wanted stability enlisted, so there was quite a wait for certain jobs in the military, and apparently every bonehead with a box of Band-Aids thought they'd give it a go. Guess what? A lot of those guys were in the class before Erik's and they're now specializing as the Army's "Water Treatment Specialists" and "Laundry Specialist."
Anyway, in the mean time we both worked and lived and inside I dreaded the day Erik would leave for Basic Training because I knew it would mean little-to-no contact for a minimum of nine weeks.
The last month he left I was constantly on edge, we argued more because I was overemotional and would snap at him and take my being sad and upset out on him in anger instead of just being honest and saying "Erik, I'm going to miss you and I love you and I just don't know how to handle what I am feeling."
Finally I got that out and things went back to normal. Erik and I spent a great deal of time together just sitting on our couch with the TV on and holding each other or lying in bed and talking. It was important to us both to make sure we were fully open with what we were feeling and just spending time together made everything seem less like a long goodbye.
Finally the morning came. I held my composure as we packed the last of his things and check the list three times. I kept it in while his recruiter arrived early, but when I hugged his neck and he picked me up and kissed me and hugged me, I lost it. My best friend was leaving and our lives were changing. He was off to better himself and our lives and I was staying to hold down the fort and be his strength and supporter. I was an Army wife from that second forward, and I was sending him off for what would be the first of many times. I cried and kissed him and hugged him over and over until I knew I had to let him go. Our lives changed forever. I don't regret it. Never have and never will.

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