Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Morning Rush Hour

The Morning Rush Hour

No, I am not talking about, “the stuck in traffic kind of rush hour”; I am talking about, “the getting your kids ready for the bus kind of rush hour.”    As military moms we are often navigating the rush hour on our own and getting out of the house with little ones is always an unpredictable situation.  Even if my children pull my eye lids back at the crack of dawn, we are always running around at the last minute.   No matter how many times I yell, “we are going to miss the bus”, they don’t move any faster. 
The only one who sits back and enjoys all of this entertainment is our English bulldog, Sophie.  She gets up early with my husband, goes outside to do her business, eats her breakfast in peace and then snuggles back into her chair for her first, of many, morning naps.  I am so jealous.  Every morning she jumps onto her “Sophie chair”, which is an old wing chair that she chewed through both arms to the point of no repair.  After that incident, it officially became the “Sophie Chair”.  
 Every morning she hops in her chair and sits on her perch watching the tornado of children that spin past her.  She does not pester, beg or bark, she just observes.  She watches as the kids spill some milk out of their cups and cereal bowls.  She sees the oatmeal that is still dripping from the side of the bowl and the spoon with a last lick still intact.  She spies the kids leaving a trail of delicious looking toys that will soon become her latest chew toys.  She hears the crying, yelling, and screaming and doesn’t even flinch.  She sits calmly and patiently as this whirlwind of chaos takes place around her. 
At first, I was fooled.  I thought she was this sweet, docile dog that just didn’t want to get in the way. Let me tell you, dogs like that do not exist! 
As she lay there quietly, she was actually studying the situation, laying the ground work, and planning on where to strike first.  As the kids are loaded down with their back packs they run over to give her one final squeeze to the point you think her fat head will pop off.   In return, she douses them with big wet licks, which eventually makes them squeal and run away.  I give her a quick pet as I run out the door with coffee cup in hand and tell her, “please, be good. “ 
At this point, she is secretly giving me the “paw” and wishing we would just leave.  She has bigger plans. 
Then one day it happened.  I had to come back to the house after the bus stop, and I caught her “red pawed!”   I ran back inside to grab my purse and sweet little Sophie was not on her perch.  As I rounded the corner to the kitchen there she was – on top of the kitchen table!!  She was busy finishing off the oatmeal from the bowl and had already lapped up all the milk that was left in the cups.  There were bowls and cups on the floor, the placemats were scattered and the chairs were nowhere near the table.  The sad part is she didn’t even flinch, in fact she looked annoyed, as if I was interrupting her breakfast?!!  I yelled, “Sophie get down” and she still didn’t move.  I finally gave her a swat and off she plopped.  Bulldogs are not known for their grace or agility – or even for their speed.  The scattered trail of toys leading to the table were now missing arms, legs and had chewed up heads.  As she trotted away from the table she picked up one last star wars character to finish off his light saber.  “SOPHIE,” I yelled one last time!! 
Now in the mornings, when I see Sophie sitting like a queen on her chair, we have a stare down contest.  Who’s going to win today?  Am I going to get all the dishes picked up and the trail of toys put away or will the bulldog bulldoze through the remnants?   Only time will tell…
  “hurry up”, I yell,” we are going to miss the bus!!!”  JGP

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sisters by the Sea

Sisters by the Sea
When six military girlfriends met up from around the country at the Charlotte airport, the fun began and the laughter didn’t end.  We call ourselves the PRG’s – PAX River Girl’s, because we first met each other over seven years ago when we were all stationed in PAX River Maryland.  After we PCS’d to new duty stations around the world, we decided to meet up once a year for a mom’s get away.   This year we headed to the Turks and Caicos.
Our friend, Stacey literally started things off with a bang, when she dropped three new bottles of wine in the Duty Free shop at the airport.  The staff actually handed Stacey and her partner in crime, Amy, a mop and told them to clean it up.  The rest of us were a big help by laughing hysterically and snapping photos.  By the time we boarded the plane the entire International wing of the airport knew who we were.
We landed in the Turks and stood for awhile in the customs line and quickly caught up on the past year of each other’s lives.  Who moved, who is moving, who’s deployed, who is deploying, who’s child is now walking and talking.  You name it; we discussed it and talked in acronyms that only military wives understand.
Once we reached the resort, it was all unedited and unrated conversation with no topic off limit.  Upon our arrival we were greeted with cool fragrant towels and welcome punch, which is now Karen’s favorite drink of choice.   We instantly felt like celebrities and undeserving of the lavish accommodations, however we did not waste any time, threw on our suits and headed out to the pool. 
Our days were spent as a bunch of amoebas moving from one end of the pool to the other.  Our only exertion occurred when we walked about 20 feet up to the beach where the most translucent turquoise waters of Grace Bay welcomed us.  We huddled our lounge chairs in positions that were designed more for conversation than sunbathing.  We traded magazines, we ordered drinks with umbrellas and we fought over who got the last bite of the heavily salted greasy sweet potato fries.   
The evenings were spent at dinner under the stars, sand below our feet and feeling the soft island breezes.  Sounds romantic, however it was anything but romantic, for everyone sitting near us.   We are a bunch of moms unleashed from our children, husbands and the mundane duties of our everyday lives.  Therefore, the only sound in the air were the shrills of our laughter and the rattle of ice in our drinks.  We sounded like a bunch of cackling hens and we were proud of it. 
Every year we come away from our vacation renewed and refreshed.  We feel like we are better wives and moms when we return home to the craziness of our families.  We encourage, support and help each other with every stage of our military lives.  We laugh about old memories, cry on each other’s shoulder and talk about the future.   We dream about the day when we’re 60 and we are jet setting off to Europe together or meeting up at our children’s’ wedding. 
We lived like rock stars for a few days, but, unfortunately our escape came to an end and we returned home to our own reality show called, “life.”  So to my PRG’s, raise your fruity drink for a final toast –
“To the strongest women I know…your love, support and friendship is as constant as the waves that cradle the shores of the beach and you will always be my sisters by the sea.”  Until next year…. JGP  11/10