Our deployment is drawing down to its last days. We couldn’t be happier or more ready for it to be over. I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’ve told you how to prepare. I’ve told you what to do to just get through it.
I haven’t told you what not to do.
Don’t do a remodeling project. I did. In a moment of inspiration (or insanity) I ripped up the carpet in the basement (it includes two bedrooms and a living area), tore down the wallpaper and chair rail, and scraped up the tiles that were under the carpeting. Even with the help of my awesome friends and the big kids, I regretted it two days into the project. It took anther three weeks to complete. It looks awesome, but I’m still tired and it’s still not quite done.
On the upside, I did get this video of the big kids moving the couch into the bedroom.
Don’t overextend yourself. I did, it sucked. Volunteering is a great way to get to know people and pass the time. But when it gets stressful and the people you are helping don’t appreciate it? Bail. You don’t need that nonsense.
One last thing, this is actually a lesson I learned during our first Army separation. Taryn and John were in the third grade when Dallas joined the Army and went away for training. I thought it would be a good idea for us to have something to focus on. We had recently gotten the Stupid Dog and a cat from the local humane society. I knew they were desperately in need of volunteers. We were in need of something to keep us occupied, so I signed us up to be foster “pet parents.” It seemed easy enough, we’d get an animal that needed some TLC at home. The kids could participate and we could have some fun.
What could go wrong?
Our first assignment was a litter of orphaned kittens. They were so cute! Tiny, orange striped, sweet little kittens. The humane society provided a big cage to keep them in and all the food and milk. All we had to do was keep them clean, feed them, and love them.
It was so much fun! On day one. By day two we noticed they pooped a lot. Like, a lot. Like, every time we held them we got poop all over ourselves. If we let them climb around outside the cage, there was poop on the floor. They were constantly covered in poop. We tried to clean them, but they just got covered in poop again.
The room they were in smelled. Bad, really bad.
Taryn and John wanted to play with them, but they were a little grossed out by all the poop. So was I, but we kept at it. We had a job to do. But on day five I noticed one of the kittens didn’t look well. He could barely move. His eyes were barely open. He felt cold.
While Taryn and John were at school I took him back to the humane society so they could check him out. A few hours later they called and told me the kitten had died. He was diagnosed with something called ‘failure to thrive.’ It meant he wasn’t getting any nutrition, he ate – but just pooped it all back out.
It was sad.
But that wasn’t the worst of it.
They told me I had to bring all the kittens in. So they could euthanize all of them. I guess failure to thrive is catchy.
That was fun to explain to two 3rd graders. I’m sure it helped them completely forget how much they missed Dallas.