Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Like Pulling Teeth, This Writing Thing Is

Seriously. Can't. Write.
I'm trying, believe me.
Something poetic needs to happen, I think.
Or funny. 
Some people are born funny, and I envy them.
Paul, you are not one of those people, so don't even try to say you're funnier than me.
But I love you.
Some people think they are funny and they spend all of their time trying to convince you that they are.
Paul, you are not one of those people either, so chillax.

Last Saturday I went with Paul to work one of his events--Pain In the Grass, hosted by KISW and sponsored by...the National Guard!
I had heard of two of the many bands that played.
But you couldn't pay me to go watch a show.
Maybe I'm being judgemental on that front...it might have been enjoyable.
But, as Paul so eloquently stated, Wal-Mart probably saw a severe decline in sales that day as the entirety of their target demographic spent the day at the White River Ampatheatre getting blitzed and blazed out of their minds.
We went home feeling very good about our lack of trashiness.
Also, feeling like we needed a shower. Dirty people.
Also, exhausted.

Actually, I had a lot of fun. I loved watching Paul do his recruiting thing, and I felt like I was a part of something. 
I'm a little proud of that man. Just a little.

Life is changing again...so maybe that'll give me fodder for the blog.
One can hope.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Boeing Museum of Flight

Thanks for a fun day, Uncle Ray!

**Fabulous photography by Uncle Ray, too!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dear Gramma,

Mom told me that she gave you my blog address and I've noticed hits from Wisconsin on my tracker lately, so I wanted to say hello, and thanks for keeping up with me a little bit. While I write about different things here, I try to write for my mom to let her know what's happening with my family and me so she doesn't feel as far away (or maybe so I don't feel as far away), and I'm glad that I can share that with you and Grandpa, too.

I think it's been four years or so since I've seen you all or talked to you and now that I'm learning what it's like to be in a really big, local family, I feel sad that we couldn't have been closer to you all growing up. It's funny how life takes people in strange directions... So, while I'm not upset with my parents for staying in Washington, I am a little sad that we were always so far away.

So here's a quick breakdown of what's going on with me:

-Paul and I met in early 2008 and got together for good on Christmas 2008. He was in Iraq at that time, and when he came home last year I was waiting for him. There's a lot of super-complicated inside story to add, but that would take a while to explain...

-Paul has four kids whom I love dearly--we all get along very well. Lilli will be 19 in October, Lauren just turned 14 a few weeks ago, Chloe is 7 and Nicholas is 5.

-We live on the Kitsap Peninsula which is southwest of Seattle, on the other side of the Puget Sound. I can see the Space Needle and the skyline across the water on my way to work.

-I work for NAVFAC Northwest, which is part of a company that supports the Navy fleet across the world, so I'm a federal government employee. Can you say benefits?? Paul's sister in law works here, and his dad retired from here a few years ago. His dad's wife, one of his uncles and one of his aunts also works here on the same base, so I fit right in!

-My job requires that I be a student for the first year, so I'm getting a certificate in Workplace Technology (or something like that) at a local school. I'm almost done with the program, and I can't wait to be finished!

-Paul and I are planning to get married sometime early next spring (nothing official yet), and I would love it if you guys would think about making the trip out here to be with us.

So that's that. Nothing exciting, but that's not a bad thing :). I'm finally realizing that I'm a grown up and my life is in motion. It's a weird feeling and I realize it's come pretty late, but I like it.

I'd love to hear from you every now and then if you have something to say about one of my posts or just want to say hello. Do you know how to post comments? If you look at the bottom of this post, there's a bit of text that says '0 comments' (or it might have another number if anyone has left a comment). Click on that, and a screen will pop up with a comment box. Write whatever you like, and sign it so I know it's you, then choose the Anonymous bubble underneath the text box and click publish.

Thank you for stopping by and reading my stuff. It means a lot to me!



Our little family, minus Lilli. We don't get to see her as often... :(

Catching Up

-The countdown has begun. On Tuesday, November 16, 2010, we'll all be free to move forward. Three months from this point of view seems like a lifetime.

-We have to move. No, we get to move, and I am excited about it, but...I hate moving. I mean, I HATE moving. The packing, the organizing, the dealing with accumulated crap that no one seems to be willing to throw away. Paul, for once the optimist, continually reminds me that, God willing, this will be the last time we have to move.

-For some reason, the thought of moving makes me mom-sick. Mom, wanna come sit on my bed and talk to me while I pack?

-You could help me paint, too, while we're hanging out. I guess there's no rush to paint, but I'm thinking a red kitchen. What do you think? (who cares what she thinks? I'm going to have a red kitchen!)

-As Paul and I walked through Mom A's almost empty house last night, I came to a disturbing realization. Every decision that we have to make regarding the house is going to involve a lot of disagreement and a lot of compromise. We cannot agree on anything. The upside to this is that once we do agree, we'll know beyond any doubt that we've made the correct choice for us both. But...paint colors might be the downfall of our relationship.

-Lady Looney went on a cruise last week, an Alaskan cruise. I'll admit that I kind of missed her company while she was gone. Our room was morbidly quiet all week. But she came back today, and I have to remind myself that I missed her because I am ready for her to go again.

-Ironically, her biggest complaint about her cruise concerned a group of "foreigners" (her words...don't tag me as racist!), who spent the whole time arguing at the top of their lungs. Now, we all know that some cultures enjoy their arguements, and they enjoy them loudly. But this did not sit well with LL, and she had to refrain from starting a fight to win back her "peace and quiet." I wonder if she realizes that her incessant complaining, grousing, yelling and cursing disrupts my peace and quiet?

-But she brought in Costco muffins this morning, so it's all good.

-A facebook status from a classmate reminded me last week that I had been in school at one point over the summer, and I should probably check my grades. I didn't have high hopes because I got an 89% on a test, but lo and behold, my classic inattention and lackidasicality to what should have been a priority paid off once again. Another 4.0. Booyah.

-Fastforward a bit less than a week to yesterday and my realization that I should probably find out when school starts up again. I'd hate to miss the first day of school for not paying attention. September 20--a whole month off. Booyah again.

-Finally, I leave you with an idyllic picture of our Sunday afternoon. Idyllic for them. I did laundry.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Killing Time 'Til Daddy Gets Home

With temperatures in the 90s and Paul at drill all weekend, I knew the kids and I needed to stay as far away from the house as possible last weekend. More accurately, I knew I  needed to get out of the house. I gave them the option of a picnic and swimming at Long Lake or the Port of Manchester, and they chose the latter unanimously.

Laden with a picnic lunch, plenty of drinking water, towels, sunscreen and a book for me, we made our way to the Port of Manchester park and settled in for several hours of cool breeze and freezing water (I'm turning into my mother...what happened to the little PNW girl who could brave any water temperature just as soon as her limbs went numb?)

Chloe was determined to be buried, but this is as far as they got. I'm not sad about that...

What to do at the beach? Why, draw a tank in the sand, of course!

She was allowed to go to the sixth piling, and she diligently counted each time

Movin' a stick


Nicholas, you can throw mud at your sister, but don't you throw it at kids you don't know!

Nicholas was not allowed to wade out as far as Chloe, but he was determined to pelt her with mud as she stood in the surf, parallel to that sixth piling. Over and over he scooped up a handful of mud from the beach, waded out as far as he was allowed, and with all his might hurled the glob at Chloe. He never did hit her and she, chatting with a new friend, was oblivious to his efforts. You can't say he's one to give up!

Towards the end of the afternoon two older, curly-headed girls hauled themselves onto the pier and took a running jump into the water. This new occupation was not lost on Chloe and Nicholas, and they turned to me in unison with the question plastered all over their sun-browned faces. "Can we?"

I opened my mouth to say no (I'm terrified that they'll get hurt), but I paused mid word. "Why not? Go ahead!" I showed them each where they could jump from, according to their height and swimming abilities, positioned myself within rescuing distance, and let them have at it.

Over and over they climbed onto the dock, backed as far away from the edge as possible, and took a running leap into the water. Nicholas absorbed the landing with his knees and kept his head above water, but Chloe submitted herself entirely, disappearing under the surface with each jump. And each time she disappeared, I held my breath until I saw her wet head reappear.

Within minutes, every kid on the beach lined up to take their leap off the dock, and every parent amused themselves in the shallower water, keeping a watchful eye on their little adventurers.

On the way home, Chloe made an observation. "Heather, your back is so sunburnt!"

"I know," I replied, wincing with the pain and heat as it settled in. "I didn't get sunblock back there."

"Well why didn't you have me do it?" Chloe demanded, and I could hear the disbelief in her voice. Duh, Heather...hello?

"Hehe...I have no idea, Chloe. I should have, huh?"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Nicholas the Lyricist

This morning, Nicholas showed his first sign of creative genius. Just like his daddy, he has shown proficiency in the musical style by rearranging his favorite song to better suit his tastes.

When everyone's favorite pirate narrator asked, "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?" Nicholas was ready with his newly improved answer:

"Spongebob Butt Pants! Spongebob Butt Pants!

Spongeboooooooooob Butt Paaaaaaaaaaaaaaants!!!!"

Sniff sniff...we're so proud!

Friday, August 13, 2010


Things I like today:
-The smell of the laminating machine as it heats up--kinda of a crispy, plasticy smell. Weird, I know.
-Waking up in the middle of the night and pressing my calf against Paul's...just for a bit of warmth and the knowledge that he's there.
-Overhearing fights that aren't my own. Fascinating!
-My space heater which keeps my butt nice and toasty while my head and shoulders are buffeted by the air conditioner.
-Not having received a single ticket after parking illegally for eight months.
-The promise of the next step.
-Pork chops and potatoes for dinner!

Things I do not like today:
-The way my flip flop slides against the ball of my foot.
-Feeling unimportant.
-Ignored/unanswered text messages.
-Diet Pepsi
-The idea of next week.
-My own wasteful paper consumption
-The seemingly endless wait between steps.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Goodwill Revelations

Tonight Paul and I, feeling antsy and confined, made our way into town to pass the time with one of our favorite activities--looking at other people's old junk. For you, the uninitiated, this meant perusing the aisles of our local antique mall and the Goodwill.

We took our time, walking slowly and examining rows and rows of creepy porcelain dolls, ugly dinner plates, adorably quirky salt and pepper shakers (hint, hint), and enough Star Wars paraphernalia to keep Paul's attention for longer than I could stand.

We split ways for a moment at the Goodwill. Paul distracted himself with a towering wall of outdated electronics, and I delved into an aisle of haphazardly stacked kitchen utensils. Finding nothing to catch my interest, I lifted my eyes from the stained Tupperware and souveneir coffee mugs to see where Paul had gone.

As I scanned the tops of the shelving for his distinctive high and tight, I saw a man walk past the end of my aisle. It took my jumbled mind a moment to register that the man was my love.

Time froze for a moment, and I took him in. And as I absorbed his profile, the expression that graced his face, his long torso, the curves of his calves, I felt as if I had just fallen in love. He was, once again, brand new to me, and just as I did when I first fell in love with him, I ached with the intensity of it.

Tonight I am comforted to know that I will hang on to that intensity of love until the day I die.

Friday, August 6, 2010


One year ago today Lauren, Nicholas and I packed into my little Ford Focus and headed south on Highway 16, following Tiffany, Mom A, Hailey, Chloe and Tayla in their SUV. I had not seen the kids in two months, and Lauren and I chit-chatted somewhat awkwardly as I drove. Nicholas passed out almost immediately in his car seat.

"So...what are we doing?" Lauren finally asked me.

I glanced at her sideways and allowed a little grin. "Birthday girls aren't allowed to ask questions, Miss." To her credit, she dropped the subject.

After 45 minutes of driving I followed Tiffany down the off ramp to Fort Lewis. Lauren looked at me with a million questions splayed across her face. "What are we doing here?"

"Aunt Tiff has something to take care of I guess..."

I parked the car, told Lauren to stay with Nicholas, and followed Tiff to get my parking pass. When it was finally my turn at the twin tables set up outside Pass and ID, I was nearly bursting with pride and excitement. "Abundis," I announced as I handed the MP my license and registration.

Lauren stared at me intently as I started the car again. Her whole body shook, her brown eyes glittered and the questions that once blanketed her face had turned to surprise and a dawn of understanding. "I think I know why we're here," she offered tentatively.

"Really. You think so?" I'd been waiting for this moment for the entire car ride, and I was a tiny bit surprised it had taken so long to come.

"I think my dad is coming home today. I think my dad is coming home early!"

We spent the longest two hours of our life packed into a hot gym with hundreds of other families, lending our attention to a tall screen that displayed a video image of the runway that would reach up to embrace the plane that held our loved ones. The plane finally touched down amidst a riot of cheers, and the soldiers walked past the camera in single file, waving and hamming for their families. My eyes were glued to the screen as soldier after soldier filed by.

Paul, in his typical Paul way, completely ignored the camera when he finally walked past, but I knew it was him by the shape of his body and the way he hiked his pack higher on his shoulder. I felt desperate to see his face and I was furious that he kept it turned away, that stubborn man.

And we waited again. This time for the arrival of the bus that toted our men and women from McChord to Fort Lewis.

At last, at long, long last the moment came. The band struck up and two doors at the far side of the gym burst open to spill a stream of bright light onto the matted floor. They filed in, lining up in formation, a sea of ACU. Through my tears I searched each form that walked through the door. I couldn't see faces at this distance, but I was confidant I would know him by his walk, by the way he held himself. And I did.

I held him in my gaze as he took his place in formation. I loved him with my eyes as speeches were made and music was played. I drank in the shaved texture of the back of his head and the thin curve of his neck; the arch of his back, the way he held his feet at ease. I relearned the shapes of his hands as he rested them behind his back and the width of his shoulders, held straight and high. I locked him in my sight, afraid that he would leave again if I dared to look away.

Finally, they were released, and we poured down the bleachers in clamber of arms, legs, balloons, posters and bouquets. I set Nicholas on the floor and he finally caught sight of his daddy. He finally understood why we were here. And I began the longest wait of my life.

I was still new, and I remembered my place as I hung back to watch Paul hug his kids, his mom, his dad, his sister in law. My arms ached and my feet would not hold still as I waited and watched and tried to beat away the tears that still hadn't ceased falling.

Finally it was my turn. I wrapped my arms around his neck; I held his lovely face in my hands, and I kissed him and kissed him, and hugged him again. I was afraid to let him go. I found myself touching his sleeve, his elbow, his shoulder, making sure he was really there. Making sure he wasn't leaving again.

The surreal moment soon gave way to a cacophony of chattering families, kids vying for the attention of their parents, and parents relaxing in the relief of having their sons and daughters home at last. I stepped back and watched as Chloe told Paul about her broken arm and Nicholas asked a thousand questions about guns and tanks and trucks.

As I watched, Lauren separated herself from her dad and siblings and walked towards me. Three days shy of becoming a teenager, she folded herself into my side, tucked her head under my arm, buried her face in her hands, and cried.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Limbo, Ego, Trauma and Caffeine

Getting words to paper has been like pulling teeth lately. And you know how I am with all things dental... I just have so little to say. Or rather, I feel contempt towards everything I try to say. So, for the sake of choking something out, a few random thoughts...

Paul's state of limbo is nearing the end of its third week, and I'd be lying if I said this wasn't stressful for me as well. Where he goes, I go; what he feels, I feel, too.

It almost feels as if I'm being held by my heels, my head dangling freely, my neck craning to see what lies ahead. I try to make plans for the landing, but everything is held in such a surreal state that I can barely plan what to cook for dinner, much less plan for a move. For the moment, I can only see what is directly in front of my face.

We're patiently waiting for that phone call that will tell us of our future...do we stay or do we go? We are believing with all the faith we have that we will stay.

But then, I need to be perfectly honest. I relish a little adventure. A change like this excites me, and part of me wouldn't mind trying the other side of the state. Only one thing keeps me from feeling nonchalant about this whole situation. One huge, giant, bigger than me, supremely important thing:

The kids. It would break my heart to not be near them, and as much as that would hurt me, I can only imagine what it would do to Paul--what it would do to the kids. This family that has adopted me as one of their own needs to stay together.

So, like every military family, we wait and we do our best with what life brings us.

I'm headed up north this weekend. It's been two months since I've been, and it was January when I last went alone. The Fidalgo Avenue Block Party & Pig Roast is on Sunday, and I thought it might be nice to go. I could see some of my old clients and different people that I used to know through the Chamber.

But then, I thought, those people only liked me for what I represented and any power they thought I might have held. For some of them, speaking with me was like a tiny ego stroke and some of them have very large egos. I shouldn't be so foolish to think that I haven't been replaced. Sure, it'll be nice to wave to each other in the streets, but beyond that I am just another girl coming back for a visit. I'm a little embarrassed that I allowed my life to be consumed by such a small set of people.

I've been lazier than usual lately. That is, I haven't been preparing the coffee pot to brew at night, and I don't take the time to make it in the morning because I never get out of bed in time to get ready for work decently. (The Cheeseburger always has a fresh pot waiting for me at work anyway.)

Paul, however, does not let time restraints come between him and his 32 oz. to go mug of caffeinated bliss. An early start time this morning meant that he woke up shortly after I did, and bless the darling-face, he made a pot that finished brewing just as I collected myself to head out the door.

With coffee mug in hand and my purse slung over my shoulder I stepped through the sliding door, saying goodbye to Paul as he hurriedly laced up his boots. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a quick glimpse of a shadow on the surface of my coffee. I froze in the doorway and studied the creamy contents of the cup. There were no floaters, no ripples, no evidence whatsoever that anything had happened to my beloved morning coffee.

For mere seconds I contemplated tossing the contents of the mug over the porch railing, but I just couldn't justify such a gross waste of coffee and coconut creamer. I took a tiny sip as I climbed into the car, and another as I started down the driveway, glancing cross-eyed at the hot liquid as I took each taste.

I completely forgot my apprehensions by the time I reached the highway, and only a few sips remained when I pulled into the lot just off base. Not wanting to tote my mug into the building, I took one final gulp to drain the cup.

And there, at the very bottom of my tall, purple Eeyore mug lay the shadow. It took the form of a quarter-sized spider with a tiny, white body and long legs spraddled across the bottom of the mug.

Had I a weaker stomach, its contents would have been spilled all over the pavement of F lot. As it were, it took a few hours for the feelings of disgust and nausea to disperse. I drank spider coffee.

The worst part? In my disgust I did not think to eject the spider from its caffeinated grave. Instead, it waits for me within the shelter of the Durango, lurking, taunting, obscene.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Things I Should Be Doing

-Running my monthly reports
-Finishing up this week's homework
-Not eating Pop Tarts for breakfast
-Cleaning out the basement
-Paying the power bill
-Recycling the 72,000 plastic grocery bags that are stuffed into my laundry room shelves
-Learning to be ambitious
-Going to the dentist
-Finding a hobby
-Detailing the Durango
-Making up my mind
-Parking legally
-Concocting beautiful things to write about

What about you? What's clogging up your to-do list?