May 6th, 2010

The Military Curse and How an Army Mom Loses Her Marbles While Hubby’s Away

Lisa Douglas

“What’s that smell?” My oldest asks, just as it assaulted my nostrils, ninja-kicking my gag reflex.

I tried to blame it on the van in front of us, but it did smell just a little too much like “fresh” gasoline - you know, like when it splashes out of the hose and onto your shoes at the pump. Only, we weren’t anywhere near a gas pump - or station for that matter.

While the smell soon dissipated, the worry did not. I kept my eyes glued to the fuel gauge and the handy-dandy digital gas meter - the one that reads “Miles Until Empty.” And lo and behold, by the time we reached our third destination, my odometer read four miles traveled while the “MUE” meter read twenty miles less.

Not good.

I hemmed and hawed about whether to drop it off at the car place. You see, my hubby is away at some senior-enlisted school ‘O suck while I’m left to care for our six (yes, I said SIX) kidlets on my own. Can I really afford to drop this car off and possibly be without it indefinitely?

But then I imagined what might happen if it was indeed a gas leak, and the lump in my throat confirmed it for me. Like it or not, we’d be walking home from the car place this morning.

Except, I hadn’t prepared for such a walk. Heck, I was barely presentable to be outside, let alone walking on the side of a road with two kids. I was wearing freaking flip flops and fuzzy pajama bottoms, with a tank top and sweater. Baby Dude was still in his pajamas. And Baby Sis? Poor thing was fully dressed in  her pretty pink sleeveless flowery dress with the pockets, on a chilly spring morning, with patent leather heel-less shoes.

At least the double stroller was in the trunk.

Fifteen minutes later, I reached the military checkpoint to get back on post. I walk up to the guard, in my fuzzy pajama bottoms, while other cars drive through in their fancy, non-broken vehicles. The guard asks me if I’m alright, glancing at my half-unpainted toes peeking out of my sandals. I explained our predicament, and he extends the offer of a courtesy ride from the military police. I declined. After all, we only live a few minutes away, right?


Navigating the Double Stroller ‘O Doom with two thirty-pound children in tow is a workout even Jillian Michaels can’t compete with. And the two cups of coffee I guzzled before I leaped out the door this morning didn’t help either. My bladder ached. My kids were cranky. And I wasn’t doing so well, either.

It’s a widely known fact that all military spouses go through hell in a handbasket when their loved ones leave. Whether it’s Murphy’s Law, the Military Curse, some spell, jinx, or whatever you want to call it, it sucks, and happens e-v-e-r-y time. If my schlepping in pajamas on the side of the road didn’t prove that to you, then, just ask me over the course of the next three weeks how I’m holding up. Bet you my answer will involve a flood, blown fuse, something broken, and at least one trip to the ER.

Awesome. (Only not.)

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This Weeks Tip

Leave the beach at the beach

Kids covered from head to toe in sticky sand? Reach in your diaper bag for the Baby Powder, give them a good shake-down (with the powder, that is) and “Poof!” they’ll be clean as a whistle (and smelling powder fresh to boot!)