Let me be real honest here.
Me + deployments = embracing a special brand of mediocrity.
And, surprisingly, I’m not being self-deprecating. I’m, well, totally bragging.
I’m so proud of my choice to be mediocre that I could shout it from the tops of the mountains (the mountains of my unfolded piles of laundry, that is).
Here’s the thing. I used to have these real aspirations during deployments, you know, these goals of absolute grandeur.
It’s a lot easier to lower your standards to achievable sights. I’m talking about dropping those suckers several rungs on the ladders of achievements. Like, “basic needs for survival” kind of achievable.
Those are my sights, and even then, they can look awful far away.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’ve just sat on a couch and wasted away for deployment-years at a time (wasting away would involve never eating, which just sounds stupid).
I’ve accomplished lots of great, hard things during my spouse’s deployments: I had some new babies, I ran some fun races (fun as in, I got a doughnut at the finish line), I moved across this rather large country, made some seriously quality friends (that could now help me with stuff), and I kept the kids kept alive and all that (which, you know, requires effort).
But I’ll tell you what. This last deployment, I was capped. I had THIS MUCH on my to-do list and this much time, energy and motivation.
Add Murphy’s Law into the mix and I found myself expecting things that “probably wouldn’t happen” to normal people under normal duress. Which, you know, was not me. I was under an eat-all-the-things, sad-that’s-an-empty-Cheeto-bag amount of duress.
So, if you’re a first-timer to the deployment world, here are a few things that I learned that probably WON’T happen for you during your spouse’s deployment. As in… you probably won’t get them done (like, you won’t) AND you probably should expect the literal worst (yeah, you definitely should).
Hey, I’m just the messenger. But pretty much saving the day over here.
1. You probably won’t mow that lawn.
The jungle look? It’s in, soooo in. Come on, though, you could pay a few bucks to have a lawn care company come take care of that issue pronto (or prontos, depending on how many times you call them).
Or, do what I did, and stand on your porch looking sad and overwhelmed so that the neighbors who might normally call the HOA on you will come and mow your lawn instead.
Because when you are faced with the dilemma between mowing the lawn and watching Stranger Things, always choose Netflix.
2. You probably won’t get that laundry folded.
Literally. Just give it up.
Your kids just want to jump in it. Let them.
Dirty, clean, folded, wrinkled — they’re just words, you know? And you’re wearing sweatpants and quippy t-shirts that say things like “NOPE. NOT TODAY” the whole deployment anyway.
But if it gets too bad (like, your kids start getting stuck in the
quicksand laundry or you start putting piles of laundry on your front porch — ONLY THEN), enlist some help. My blessed FRG leader came over and folded mine with me. And then she swept my floor and cut my hair, so you know, two birds and all that.
3. You probably won’t have any problems with your spouse’s paycheck.
I don’t want to be rude or anything, but for realz, plan for a paycheck or two to go missing for a while.
Right when your mortgage is due.
And it’s soda o’clock and you need your daily addiction from the local drink shop.
Oh, and food for your kids, I guess.
NO DOLLARS. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.
Good thing you have that credit card. And friends to mooch dinner off of (“So, is this an every night thing, or…”).
Anyway, the sooner you admit to the possibility of it happening, the sooner you can accept having to use Monopoly money to pay for cold cereal.