An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Monday, October 24, 2005

An Officer and a Gentleman

The company had their last Field Training Exercise (FTX) in the middle of a major storm. Despite the pouring rain, DH still enjoyed his time in the field.

Unfortunately, two radios were misplaced during these exercises! Although DH's platoon was not responsible for these radios in any way, the entire company had to do a thorough search. Even though the radios were old and broken, there was the possibility someone might have to pay for them. At one point they discussed having the entire company pay for the radios.

This is the way things work in the Army. You are constantly required to sign for all sorts of things and then, if they disappear, you are held responsible.

DH strongly suspects that the radios were placed with some empty MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) boxes and tossed in the garbage. The radios were never found but this incident postponed Senior inspection and altered the training schedule.

The following week, things returned to normal. His company passed Senior Inspection and DH also passed individually. As a Senior Officer Candidate, he received senior privileges, such as extra phone calls. From what I understand, this was one of the most restrictive OCS classes in recent memory. So, Senior Privileges were a big deal to the Candidates.

Finally, OCS graduation arrived.

April 7, the night before graduation, the OCS class hosted a formal dinner and after party. The very-soon-to-be-officers wore their Class A uniforms while most of their instructors wore dress blues or mess uniforms. All the civilian ladies looked beautiful in their gowns and everyone was simply beaming. DH's mother, father, and maternal grandmother were on hand for the festivities.

A highlight for me was meeting many people with whom I had corresponded by e-mail as one of the FRG leaders. The (mainly) wives, girlfriends, and mothers are an excellent group. People were very complimentary about the job we had done with the FRG. The commander even brought two of us to the dais to give us certificates for our work. Although all the attention was embarrassing, and I was disappointed that he wasn't aware of the work one of the ladies had done, the appreciation validated my efforts.

Graduation was a very special day for us. DH passed OCS with flying colors, meeting and exceeding all physical, academic, and leadership requirements. I am continually impressed by his Physical Fitness accomplishments--he even earned an Excellence in Physical Training award!

After the graduation in the auditorium, we went to the OCS cannon, in honor of the artillery, for DH's swearing-in. I was permitted to pin one of the "butter bars" on DH's shoulder. Of course, I pinned it the wrong way. Ooops! Thankfully, this does not nullify the commission!

We celebrated with dinner with his family and many presents for the newly minted Lieutenant, including an iPod from me and a Leatherman from my parents.

DH was able to return to New York for a few, too-short days and we had a big dinner with our friends at Florio's Grill and Cigar Bar (a relatively authentic place in Little Italy and one of the few places DH could still smoke a cigar in NYC, thanks to Bloomberg), followed by drinks at the Yale Club.

Of course, no time with DH is complete without an adventure! In November, the Honda Civic was stolen out of the parking lot in New Rochelle. As a replacement, I purchased a used '93 Saturn. So, when we recovered the Honda several months later, we had two cars, one spot, and one driver. My parents helped me to register and inspect the Honda and DH decided to take the Saturn on a less-than-leisurely drive from New York to Oklahoma (for Officer Basic Course at Ft. Sill). When DH went to pick-up the Honda for me at my parents' house, the car wouldn't start. So, DH had my mother drive him to his parents' to pick up their station wagon.

Later that night, the station wagon died us in the middle of the street. With the aid of several New Rochelle characters, we jumped the car four times; the car died on us four times.

Unfortunately one of those times was after DH pushed the car into the middle of a neighboring apartment building's driveway. Someone called the cops, fearing drug dealers, thieves, or perhaps terrorists. Fortunately, the young policemen were suitably impressed by Marc's military service and let us get back to the business of jumping the car, again. Most fortunately, the last time the car died, it was already safely in berth. Two cars dead, and an exhausting night. Thankfully, mechanics were able to fix both cars relatively easily.

So, my officer headed off into the sunset astride his steed--or at least he drove off to Oklahoma in our Saturn, complete with his new iPod.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


In February we had the mid-cycle picnic.

By this point, our unusual Family Readiness Group (FRG) was in full swing. I say unusual because very few of us actually lived near Ft. Benning. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had somehow volunteered myself to lead the FRG with the girlfriend of one of the other Officer Candidates.

Since in the land of the blind the man with one eye is king, I went online to take the Army Family Team Building Level I course. (Thanks for reminding me about that, Katy!)

There is nothing in Level I that you can't learn from a book, like The Army Wife Handbook, by Ann Crossley. DH had already purchased that book for me when he enlisted, so the course was mostly a refresher.

I also started Level II, which is mainly team-building, group dynamics-type stuff. If you've ever had any sort of management training, that's basically it.

The nice part about the course is the interactive design and the fact that you get a neat certificate saying you completed the course. So, I was able to mail something to DH to show him how I was preparing for our new life together in the Army.

A few of the ladies and I met up before the picnic at Burger King so that we could find the location together. The picnic was at Uchee Creek a part of Benning where people can rent cabins or camp out. So, it was a little off the beaten path.

Many of the gals had their kids with them and it was really nice to put names with faces.

There was one awkward moment. One of the women was talking about how her husband would not have a pass because he had not been given an opportunity to work off his demerits earned through the normal course of things. Most of us had heard from our husbands/S.O.'s that he had actually lost his privileges through unauthorized use of the phone and some other stupid things. We did not want to say anything, but she is a likeable woman and we felt bad that he was lying to her. Also, he had been taking a lot of his stress out on her during OCS.

After breakfast, we convoyed to the picnic, making several wrong turns along the way.

Perhaps the Army should have an orienteering course for us spouses.

It took a while for the Officer Candidates to arrive but we spent the time meeting the other spouses.

Finally, the highlight of the day--our Officer Candidates!!!

I was excited to show off to DH that I had lost about 15 lbs in his absence (probably because he wasn't pouring all that wine for me with dinner) but I think he had lost even more. From all of the exercise and the limited time to eat, he had become quite skinny! Although there was less of him to love, I loved him not one drop less, of course.

Even the officer candidates whose families could not make the picnic were so excited to eat barbecue and junk food. The class organized an activities table for the kids and held a raffle fund-raiser. I took lots of photos and sent them to the families via Snapfish so they could see their smiling Officer Candidates.

At the end, the OC's held final formation. It was very odd because they were wearing khakis and navy OCS polo shirts rather than any sort of Army uniform. Still, I enjoyed seeing part of what DH was doing during his days at OCS.

Then, we had the rest of the weekend together! One night, some of us FRG ladies went out with our guys. The guys were not supposed to drink but, after an initial attempt at solidarity, some of the ladies indulged. DH and I spent the weekend enjoying our usual Columbus, GA haunts and, obviously, each other.

Although I would rather not spend time apart from DH, these absences have really made us appreciate the time we do have together.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Military Spouse Guest Blogging

Because my husband is no longer active duty, I just do not have enough military spouse stories to fill-up this blog any longer. So, rather than just turn it over to the spammers, I am opening it up to the community.

Why Guest Blog?

Here are a few reasons you might want to Guest Blog on An Army Wife's Life:
  • You don't have a blog but you want to share something with blog readers.
  • You want to share something anonymously. Maybe you have a blog, or don't, but you really have something to say and you don't want it connected with your name and/or your online profile. I'll be happy to accept anonymous postings.
  • You have a new blog and you want a link from an established, high page rank blog. In your guest post, you can link to whatever pages in your blog you like with whatever anchor text you like. Because this blog has been around a while and has a high ranking in Google's eyes, it turns up high in searches.
I can't offer you a lot of traffic right now. If this gets going, however, this site may once again get a lot of traffic. I'll always be happy to have you back.

Who Can Guest Blog?

All military spouses are welcome. I do not care whether you are male, female, young, old, a blogger or not, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Active Duty, National Guard, Reserves, etc. In fact, military personnel are also welcome if they have something to say about issues specifically relating to the spouse experience.

How to Guest Blog

Write up a post and e-mail it to mollypitcher at gmail dot com. Include any links you wish to have. Let me know if there is a particular week when you would like your post to appear. I will confirm within about two days and then get back to you within about a week.

What to Guest Blog?

Pretty much whatever you like! It should relate in some way to the military spouse experience. That's really the big one. Your guest post can be a personal, literary, informational, political, editorial, whatever you are thinking! Write a narrative, a short story, a description of your emotional state, a how to guide, or whatever is on your mind. It can be prose or poetry. You can include a photo if you like. Just send me what you have, and we'll try to find a way to fit it in.

Any restrictions?
  • It has to be YOUR WORK. Don't send me forwards and claim they are yours.
  • If you are a blogger, please make sure the material is original. I ask that you do not re-publish the same exact piece on your own blog just so neither of us get tagged as spammers. You can revise, excerpt it, or revisit the idea on your site and you retain all rights to your material.
  • If you are a blogger and intend to link to your site, I request a link back to this post so others will know about the opportunity. You may also link to your post if you like. If you are not a blogger or wish to remain anonymous, this does not apply.
  • Do not confess to felonies you are about to or have committed (if you've been convicted and served your time...that's a different story). I am neither priest nor lawyer and I will turn you in.
  • Try to keep it PG-13. Sometimes a little graphic language may contribute to the story, but avoid gratuitous sex, violence, profanity. I will check with you if I would like you to change something and will only publish it if we both agree on any changes--I will not publish anything without your permission.
  • Proofread and spell-check. You don't have to use perfect grammar or create a polished piece, but take the time to run a spell-checker.