As the spouse of a retired Marine who gave 23 years to his beloved Corps, I still seek the words of those who best reflect my thoughts, feelings and experiences. The most informative, hilarious and heartfelt blogs I've ever read are written by military spouses, such as Terri Barnes's "Spouse Calls" and Lisa Molinari's "The Meat and Potatoes of Life." Spouse-writers often ask questions of their readers, and such was the case when the author of Household6Diva, Ann Marie Detavernier, asked, "How does your service member prepare your household for [deployment] separation?"
Among the things Ann Marie's husband did in advance, he left her a love note tucked beneath one of numerous bottles of laundry detergent he'd stocked. It was a very sweet gesture, especially in light of the many other ways in which he'd prepared his household. It's been years since my husband last deployed so I can smile warmly at her husband's thoughtfulness before I remember my own less-than-stellar pre-deployment experiences. And with that jiggle of the memory bank, I recall the heat of the battle, as it were.
My spouse works 9 to 5, too, if by 9 you
mean September and by 5 you mean May.
Long before he would go on to become a combat veteran, my husband Robert was an Eagle Scout. "Preparedness" was his middle name. In advance of every training exercise, operation, and deployment, all manner of camouflaged sundries and supplies came out of various points of storage and were strewn from one end of our home to another as he carefully categorized, compiled and packed for his next journey. For weeks (more often for days, as the military is long on loyalty and short on notice) it was like walking on egg shells — if those egg shells are dull-colored, made of Kevlar, and range in size from a button to a rifle box — but more on that in a moment.
Robert kept our vehicles and household appliances in top notch condition and always gave them a thorough check-up before shipping out. This went a long way toward minimizing fire, flooding and general failure as well as impromptu roadside stops in his absence. Alas, the main reason things ran smoothly when he was home and for the first half of his deployments was "penile presence" – the term I assigned my discovery that electronics, which gave me no small amount of trouble, would suddenly whir to life when he walked into the room.