Monday, January 25, 2010

Our Abbreviated Life

Kevin left for some training back in the states today and last night it had me thinking about all the abbreviations and acronyms that I have to deal with, not only in everyday life but over his whole Air Force career. I just wanted to jot a few down and see what you thought. So, let's start at the beginning.
In 2003 Kevin graduated from ASU. And having completed ROTC commissioned with the USAF.
Shortly thereafter we PCSed to Moody AFB in Valdosta, GA. Where he abandoned me (not really but that is how I fondly remember it) after two weeks to go to ASBC at Maxwell AFB, AL. When he got home he began IFT which he successfully completed six months later and began UPT. When done with that we PCSed again to Laughlin AFB, TX to continue with SUPT. When we got there we decided to divide and conquer. I took the two kids we had at the time and went to UT to work on my BGS from BYU. Having survived all that with only one prolonged DNIF, Kevin attended SERE school and water survival (which they I think is about the only thing they haven't come up with an acronym for) and then we went TDy to Altus AFB, OK for MFT. After which we PCSed to McConnell AFB, KS where we managed to stay put for about four years.
(All of those moves and training were done between May 2003 and Nov 2005)
When we got to McConnell Kevin had to go through MCAT so he could officially fly the KC-135R at the 350th ARS. And as was becoming the norm, he again abandoned me two months after our arrival to go TDy to the desert where he was temporarily assigned to the 179th EARS. He did that two times the first year we were there. He then went through AC upgrade, and CFIC and two more deployments before we left four years after our arrival.
Not to be out done, shortly after we PCSed to RAF Mildenhall, where he was assigned to the 351st ARS here in England, Kevin again deserted me to go back to the US to attend SOS. Which brings us current to his departure for the US again this morning to attend AIS in OKC.
Now these are all the acronyms I have had to learn for his career, but there are also a lot that I deal with in day to day life. Here are a few.
I shop at the BX and the DECA Commissary. If I want to work out (hahaha) I go to the HaWC. If I want child care for my kids they would go to the CDC. The American schools are called DoD schools. I drive a POV which restricts me from going certain places on the base. The SP checks my ID as I go through the gate. I know my sponsors SSN, DOB and duty phone by heart. I have belonged to several OSCs. I know that the QCS at the TMO is your friend when they are carelessly tossing your boxes onto a moving truck. With this last move I had UAB, HHG, and storage items to separate. And the list goes on.
So this kind of brings me to a funny story.
The other day Eli needed family participation with his math homework. He was supposed to ask us what we thought of the different temperatures of things that are found around our house. So he started reading the list and we commented on each one. Then he got to E-T-C. I asked him to repeat what he said. He again said E-T-C. I was baffled. I was about to chalk it up to some strange English thing when my husband said "Do you mean etcetera? etc."

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Pre-Emptive Christmas Morning Strike

This year my youngest, AJ, turned three in September. He is the upwardly mobile type, in that he is up and mobile long before everyone else rises in the morning. Usually this only creates small areas of chaos in the kitchen, the worst has been his fascination with removing all the keys from the laptop keyboard, but that only makes his dad really mad so I won't dwell on that.
Since he is three and I know a few things about three year olds, having lived through two already, I knew not to put out any Christmas presents prior to Christmas morning.
Now being a woman with a scientific background (I majored in Biology for a semester in college with aspirations of one day being a science teacher) I felt it necessary to test the limits of my three year old's capabilities.
We had received a few years back a box of books from my parents that was intended for the kids but never seemed to make it into the massive collection of books that they had already given us. So this year I told my parents not to send any gifts for the kids and I would wrap the books that I already had and put grandma and grandpa's names on them. I labeled them with the appropriate child's name, dressed them up with red ribbon and put them under the tree about a week before Christmas Day.
Now this is where having a three year old with a two letter name can be a drawback. He already knows how to read and write it.
The next day being Saturday, Kevin and I were enjoying being able to sleep in until 7 am. At which point the house started to buzz with the activity of my early riser and we reluctantly decided to get up. I was the first one out of bed and in my absence AJ came to our room asking his dad to read him a story. My first thought was, "Oh how adorable. I hope Kevin says yes." But it was quickly interrupted by his dad exclaiming his two letter name followed by a "where did you get this?" That is when I knew something had gone very wrong with my experiment.
He had located the beautifully decorated package bearing his name and since it of course was his decided to open it.
The present was re-wraped and placed again under the tree with strict instructions not to touch it until Christmas morning.
It turns out I wasn't specific enough in my threat.
Christmas morning the crafty AJ again arose early and using his stealth like ninja powers, he slipped downstairs before the rest of us. Now as any parent knows you have to put the presents out on Christmas Eve, nobody wants to wake up to an empty Christmas tree.
My problem is that I should have known to lock the door behind myself.
Eli, our oldest, was the next one down the stairs.
Now, you have to understand that all our bedrooms are upstairs and the floor creeks and moans like nobodies business but apparently you have to have a certain amount of weight in order to trigger the not so silent warning that someone is up and moving and a three year old just doesn't have the same mass as a nine year old and is thus able to slide by undetected.
When I heard Eli going down the stairs I knew it would be time to get up because it wouldn't be long before the other two had descended the stairs and I wanted to see all the fun.
What I wasn't expecting was Eli's exclamation of that now infamous two letter name.
It turned out that AJ took advantage of his sleeping parental figures and helped himself to all of his presents, which even though they had no name on them they were easily identified with the Cars wrapping paper that I knew he would love.
He opened every single one of his presents...and then one of his brother's...and three of his sister's.
Now he is a smart boy and I would like to think that the opening of the wrong presents occurred prior to him realizing that all of his were in the same wrapping paper.
You may be laughing right now about the whole situation, but I'm not, not yet. Maybe in the years to come I will but it is still too close. I wouldn't say that he ruined Christmas morning for me but I was a little less motivated to go downstairs.
He on the other hand was very excited about his presents. They were just what he wanted.
Next year there will be some different rules about Christmas morning because I will be one year older and wiser too.

O Christmas Tree

AJ, my three year old, might have a bit of OCD. He becomes completely fascinated and fixated on certain things and there is no stopping him.
Well this Christmas he turned his fascination towards the beautifully decorated Christmas tree.
Now our tree isn't the type with all coordinating balls, bows, and other bobbles. We have made it a family tradition to collect Christmas ornaments from all of our travels and vacations. It makes the tree very personal and I love how it is a storybook of our lives.
This year we laid out all the travel ornaments and put them on the tree one by one reminding the kids where we got each one. It was fabulous to see them remember the small details from each of those times spent together as a family.
The kids also have their individual ornaments that are usually a gift from the grandparents. Two of these were the center of AJ's world for several weeks and both of them belonged to his older brother. One was a hallmark Buzz Lightyear, complete with buttons for sound, and the other a Blue Han Solo M&M that Eli's Grandma Gibson acquired for him from an ornament exchange we attended together in Wichita.

The Buzz Lightyear turned out to be very well made and only ended up suffering a single leg amputation below the knee.
The Blue M&M on the other hand (no pun intended) started off by loosing both of his hands. After they were repaired and re-hung they disappeared again, this time suffering from a total loss of both arms and one leg. After more super glue was applied and they were once again re-hung, a little higher up on the tree, they mysteriously vanished again. This time one foot one leg and both arms needed the healing powers of the Super Glue.
After their last re-constructive surgery they entered into the "Christmas Ornament Relocation Program" and were hung at the top of the back of the tree. Here they lived out the rest of the Christmas season peacefully until the taking down of the tree a week later.
I'm sure next year, when he is a year older and wiser too, this won't be a problem. Until then I think it would be prudent to invest in 3M stocks.