Exhausted, but I’m Home

As I type this blog, I have been awake for almost 24 hours, with only 3 hours of sleep last night (which was very restless), and today I spent probably an accumulated 11 or so hours in a car, 7 consecutive hours of that being driving from Post to my home state.  [Admittedly, I STARTED this blog in bed, on very little sleep, after a day of driving.  Getting only a few paragraphs in, I started to fall asleep while I was typing, so I am completing it the following morning.]

Needless to say, its been a crazy day, and I am starting to succumb to the feelings of exhaustion, so there’s no telling where this blog will take me tonight.

My husband had to report to Post this morning by 4am to leave for a 2-week training course at another Post in another state.  So, despite our best intentions, we didn’t get to bed until 10pm, and found it difficult to even fall asleep.  I didn’t drift off until about 11, and woke up almost 2 hours later, and finally managed to fall asleep long enough for my alarm to wake me up at 2am.  Now, normally I probably wouldn’t have taken the time to wake up, shower, put on makeup and straighten my hair to drop my husband off for a flight to leave for training.  But, I was driving to my home state shortly after dropping him off, so I thought I might as well get ready.

Dropping my husband off for training was not easy.  But I didn’t cry!   I know, I’m an Army Wife, it’s training, not deployment, so WHY would I cry?  It’s only a couple of weeks.  But I did get a little teary-eyed, and found it hard to let him go when I was hugging him good-bye.  On a side-note, I find it difficult to be satisfied with the number of kisses I get from my husband when we got to bed at night – I’m always asking for one more “good night” kiss; I knew, when I was hugging and kissing him good-bye, no amount of kisses and hugs would be enough to quench my need to satisfy me for the two weeks I’d be going without them.  I had to finally let go, get one last kiss, and part ways as he walked to the truck that had pulled up to take all their luggage to the plane, and I went back to the car to drive home.  I tried to find him in the sea of men and women in ACU’s as I pulled out, but I can never recognize anyone individually from a distance when everyone is in uniform.  He was probably too busy or distracted to look back and wave.

So, after an uneasy night of 3 hours of sleep, I was then on the road for the trip that can take anywhere from 7 to 12 hours to drive – depending on route, traffic, construction.  [Despite some AM editing above, this is where I had to stop and go to sleep.]  I arrived at the gas station to fill my tank at 6:15am, and was on the road only minutes later.  My original ETA with the way my GPS configured itself, which was going to take me OFF of the highway for part of the trip, was 1:58pm.  I managed to have it change course, and take me highway the entire way home.  With the “recalculation”, and my speed, I managed to shave almost a half hour off my time, and arrived around 1:30pm.  I stopped for an “Ice Mocha Cap” at my favorite chain coffee store, Tim Horton’s (we don’t have ANY local to our Post!), and I wanted to pick up a box of donut holes for my surprise visit to the office I had previously worked at.  I ordered 20, and didn’t realize it until I SAW the sign for their donut hole boxes and prices, that she had charged me $1.99, which was for the box of 10.  Miscommunication, and I was too tired to care.  So, I apologize to my former colleagues – you were supposed to get a box of 20 donut hole assortments, but the lady behind the counter misheard my “twenty” for “ten”.  Writing this now actually really makes me want a Timmy Ho’s donut – I did not eat any of them yesterday.  Not just because I got 10 instead of 20 and wanted to share, but being on the road that long, only having a cup of coffee in the morning, a 100calorie bag of chocolate pretzels on the drive, water, and my “Ice Mocha Cap”, my tummy wasn’t feeling hungry, or like it could handle much food.  Although my oncoming headache told me otherwise.

So, after stopping at Tim Horton’s, I gassed up my car for the third time of the day to make sure it went home on a full tank, and then proceeded to my former place of employment.  Since I finally hit the state line before 4pm, and didn’t have my husband with me, I was finally able to stop in to say hello.  And I couldn’t have picked a better day!  The office was planning a surprise baby shower for one of the workers an hour after I got there, so I was able to attend that as well.  Although I felt awful, showing up without a present!

But it was so nice to see almost everyone I had worked with a year prior.  I missed them all terribly.  And I honestly miss going in and working with them.  It has been my favorite job, because of the people I worked with.  Honestly, I think any “job” becomes tolerable, if you are working with a fantastic group of people.  I didn’t get to see a few people, they were on vacation or busy elsewhere.  And I got to meet a couple of the new employees, who are all so fantastic as well!

And the baby shower was amazing!  I am sorry that I cannot remember who said this, but someone at the baby shower (I want to say it was the dad-to-be, but I could very likely be wrong), but someone said something to the effect that what makes coming in to work everyday so enjoyable, what makes their job so enjoyable, is that they are not just coming in to do a job, with other people who do their job.  But that there really is an Office Family.  That there’s a family dynamic to working in the office, and that’s something really special.  I couldn’t agree more, and I think that’s what I miss most about working with them.  That we/they aren’t all “just colleagues”, but everyone cares about each other.

But, CONGRATULATIONS K & J for your baby Molly!  I hope the last stretch of pregnancy goes well, and you have a beautiful, healthy, baby girl!  And I am so glad that I was able to show up on the same day as your surprise shower!  I only wish I had a gift for you.

In other news, my former coworker (shared the same job title) is pregnant and engaged!  I couldn’t be happier for her, as well.  She’ll find out early next week what sex she is having.  I am so excited for all the mommies and mommies-to-be!  I know my husband and I are not ready for children of our own yet, but seeing everyone else having their own, I kind of live vicariously through.

After leaving the office, I made my way to the town where I was meeting my parents and in-laws for dinner.  And I didn’t know it, but I was about to fight off a meltdown.

This town is CRAZY to try to park in, if you’re not there at the right time.  5:30pm was not the right time.  So I circled the street looking for a metered spot, relatively close to the restaurant.  Nothing.  So I thought maybe I could find the parking garage that I know is close.  Got out the GPS, and it didn’t seem like I could find the right now.  Mind you, being away from this area of town for better than a year, and I was just starting to get familiar with when I left, if I didn’t keep the direction of the water in mind, I could have gotten lost easily.  So, while I was at a stop sign.  A STOP SIGN.  A man on a bike was biking up the street I was at an intersection with, left to right.  As he approached, I was stopped, and looked down at my GPS.  He then reprimands me for “texting while driving”, and that I should “learn how to drive!”  I was too tired, and too worried about finding parking, that I didn’t think of anything to say immediately.  But seriously, you’re on a bike, I’m in a car.  You’re CROSSING IN FRONT OF MY VEHICLE.  And you want to exchange words with me?!  I thought I left all the New Yorkers in New York.

So, I made my way for the main street again, and found parking a little bit of a ways down from the restaurant.  Now, I am exhausted, I want to get to the restaurant because I’m starting to feel my hunger-headache developing, and I’m near a breakdown.  Since there were no meters at these parking spots, and there were quite a few empty with quite a few people driving on the road NOT parking here, I was worried I had found ANOTHER “permit only” parking area.  And I had just seen another vehicle (granted it was left at a metered location) with a boot on it, tickets under the wiper, and upon circling back saw the meter man and a tow truck – it was getting impounded.  So, on my sleepy mind, I had images of my car getting towed while I was eating.  I’m freaking out, called my parents, and texted my in-laws who know the area a little better, because I was to the point of hysterics if I kept talking.  My mother in law called me back.  They have never seen, much less heard me, in real hysterics because of being over-tired before.  They haven’t seen me “nasty.”  I’ve only ever cried in front of my mother in law once, and once on the phone.  So, I managed to compose myself, as she handed the phone to my father-in-law, who wasn’t too familiar with the area I was parked, but said if I didn’t see any signs telling me otherwise in front of me, I should be fine.  So, I went on his word, had my parents park close since they were having trouble finding parking, too, and then we proceeded to the restaurant.  We didn’t get any tickets, or boots, so we were fine.

Dinner was great, and the company was better.  I love the friends I’ve made on Post, but there’s nothing like family.  Between being with family, finally getting some real food, being in my state, and having a drink (cranberry & Captain, my staple drink), I was finally able to relax a little.  Having my husband with me would have been better.  And having him NOT scheduled to deploy would have been perfect.  I thought I knew anxiety, but since he enlisted, I never truly knew Anxiety.

I really did enjoy last night.

My parents wouldn’t let me drive my car the hour home.  And not because I had one drink, but because I was exhausted, and they thought I would sleep the ride home.  Silly parents.  I don’t know how to relax anymore, so falling asleep in a car is damn near impossible unless I’m at that EXTREME exhaustion.  I could have managed driving home just fine.  I find that I’m able to do almost anything, if I put my mind to it, and I know I have no other choice.  I don’t ask for help, and I get pride in all that I can do.  And I find that it still shocks people.  Weird.

By the end of the night, I felt like ass.  I was tired, I had been in a car all day, on a hot day, with no AC.  Yeah, that’s like an $800 fix for my car that’s probably worth as much.  It’s a great car, but it’s a 2001, and one that depreciated in value quickly.  Do you notice that when people say “You LOOK exhausted!”, it’s like a polite way of saying “You look awful!?”    I know I was looking pretty bad by the end of the night.  But who WOULD look like a rock star on 3 hours of sleep, and almost a full day of driving?

This morning, the 12th, when I woke up, everything felt surreal.  I had to remember I’m in my home state.  I wanted to roll over and see if my husband was awake, and start talking to him, but then I remembered he wasn’t with me.  It was easy to ignore yesterday, I DID leave him on post, I was focused on my driving, and my car was so full of boxes, bags, and luggage, that I wouldn’t have noticed a body being with me or not.    But I haven’t had to wake up without him for almost a year now.  It was a haunting reminder of what deployment will be like at first.  I don’t like it.  I think I might start talking to myself, imagining I’m having conversations with him.  And then, I can only imagine after deployment is over, when I’m reconditioned to going to bed and waking up alone, how it will be to have to sleep with someone next to me again.  When he was gone for Basic and AIT, I had moved from my side of the bed, to the middle, and I think I was even on his side of the bed a few times.  I’ll have to learn barriers again.

But, I have two weeks in my home town without my husband.  I was at first excited about being back, alone, for a little while.  I could go places I wanted to go, see MY friends, spend time with my family without him.  I am still excited about this, and I enjoy doing all these things WITH him…and now I’m starting to miss that already.  And it’s the first morning!  I cannot wait until we’re able to go on our belated Anniversary/Second Honeymoon trip together!

Man, deployment is going to suck.  I already told him that when he comes back, he’s going to owe me a year’s worth of good-night kisses.  He’s not looking forward to that, since he’s not the kissy type.  I don’t know how I’m going to go without getting his hugs every day, tackling him for a kiss all the time…without his touch.  I’m obsessed with touch, which he hates.  haha.  But when we’re in bed, I like to have our feet touching, or backs to each other, something that’s in touch with each other, to feel he’s there.  I don’t think I’ve always been like this, even though I’ve always liked touch.  But I think, knowing I’m sleeping in an empty bed for a year, I want to  feel him with me now, because I won’t be able to for his deployment.

Ugh, there’s so much going on in my mind right now.  I wish I could turn my mind off sometimes, instead of always thinking about everything.  But, I am looking forward to at least 1 dinner, and who knows how many get-togethers with friends while I’m home.  And I do not want to talk Army or deployment!  That’s my one rule.  I want to pretend I’m a civilian again, just a wife, and not an Army Wife.  For at least a few days.

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