Friday, December 30, 2011

Confession of an Ohioan turned Southerner

I have a confession to make.  I’m dying to see some snow.

Yes, I moved down here so I could enjoy milder winters and avoid harsh, icy, snowy, freezing conditions, but the truth is I still think snow is beautiful (at least for the first day or so till it starts to get slushy and brown), and I need to see it at least once a year to get my fix.  Also, I bought some snow boots and I need to justify the purchase :)

I was spoiled by last Christmas, when we actually got a snowstorm IN North Carolina, and enjoyed a long holiday weekend hibernating and waiting out the weather.  That’s why I fully expected to see snow when we were home celebrating Christmas with my family two weekends ago.  Alas, we saw flurries the first day we were there, but it wasn’t cold enough for it to accumulate.

Now, I’m hoping for snow when we visit JD’s family in Michigan at the end of January…. But not so much snow that we get stranded somewhere.  And not overly cold snow (as in, the nostril freezing kind).  Ideally, it would be just below freezing and we’d get snow the day after we arrived and it would melt by the time we left- enough snow that I could utilize my snow boots and feel like I got my fix. I hope the weather gods are reading this, because I fully expect them to accommodate ALL of MY wants.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 16, 2011

‘Tis the Season

This will go down in the record books as the longest work week in history because I spent most of it in anticipation of tonight, when we will be leaving for Ohio.  I’m so, so excited to see my family, and to celebrate the holidays.  In honor of those things, I’m going to list some of my favorite things about Ohio (and the holidays!)

*My family (duh!): Because they love and support me unconditionally, because they make me laugh, and because JD thinks our endless list of inside jokes is extremely strange.

*Graeter’s Ice Cream: It’s local to Ohio so most of you probably haven’t had the honor of tasting it.  It’s homemade… and amazing- totally worth a trip to Ohio.

*Christmas shopping: I LOVE buying gifts for other people.  In fact, I find it harder to stay on budget when I’m shopping for other people than when I’m shopping for myself.  I just like finding things for people that I know will make them happy… and shows that I know who they are and what they like :)

*The Ohio River: When you cross the border into most states, all you really get is a sign that indicates you are crossing some invisible barrier, but when you cross into Ohio (from the south and part of the east at least), you cross the river.  There’s something that makes the border crossing extra-meaningful when there’s a visible indication of the state line.

*White Christmas (movie) and any Christmas music sung by Bing Crosby:  It’s what I grew up watching and listening to.  Bing Crosby reminds me so much of my grandpa (they even sound the same when they sing).

*Cincinnati Chili: Some people think it’s weird that we make chili with cinnamon and chocolate and put it on spaghetti.  Those people are wrong.  It’s delicious.

*Gift wrapping: I LOVE wrapping presents so much that I hand-make all my bows.  I’ve even offered to wrap presents for other people… for free.  In a recent Facebook conversation, my sister and I decided that I’m the pimp money present wrapper.  I think I found a new name for the blog…

*Wine: Especially delicious when enjoyed with your family in front of a warm fire.

*Big breakfasts: In NC, my breakfast is usually fruit and some granola, but when you’re home celebrating the holidays, breakfasts (my favorite meal of the day!) are usually large and over-indulgent.

And last but not least, I love that most of my list is bragging about how amazing Ohio is or how much I like to eat while I’m there.

Happy Holidays everyone :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Husband Served Our Country… Now I Reap the Benefits

It takes a lot of sacrifice to serve our country, but there are also a lot of benefits too.  These benefits are shared with your spouse and family, who stood by your side while you served.  Or, in the case of JD and I, the benefits are shared with the girl you met post-deployment with only 6 months left of active duty.

Yeah, I feel like I cheated the system in some way.  To be fair, I didn’t marry JD because he was a Marine.  In fact, that almost prevented me from going out with him in the first placebut I still feel like I reap the benefit of being married to a veteran even though I missed the heartache of deployment and all the other stressors that go along with being a Marine spouse.  In fact, I practically missed his Marine Corps career all together.  Hopefully being a police wife counts for something.

While JD was in the police academy, we both benefited from the GI Bill that supplemented our income.  When we bought our house, we breezed through the loan application process and got approved for a VA loan.  After seeing the hoops my friends have had to jump through for their home loan, I’m now realizing how easy we really had it.  JD gave a kneecap for those benefits, but I swooped in at the very end, just in time to enjoy the rewards.

Most recently, we got invited to Asheville for a Toys for Tots event hosted by the uncle of one of his police buddies.  Since Toys for Tots is a Marine Corps charity, the uncle wanted a couple of Marines in dress blues (formal uniform) to help with the event.  Oh, and he threw in a free weekend at a 4 star hotel in Asheville.

Um, yes please.

We’ve been out to the mountains several times, but we haven’t had a chance to explore Asheville yet, which we’ve always wanted to do.  Asheville is known for being very artsy, very laid back, and very focused on what my family would call “hippie things” like green living and locally grown food.  It also happens to be vegetarian friendly, which I appreciated.  (And since I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this before, yes, I’m a vegetarian, which, according to my family makes me a hippie, so Asheville is a good fit for me and my hippie lifestyle).  The thing I loved most about it is that there’s this totally open-minded vibe there… like you can be exactly who you are and fit right in.

Our hotel suite.  We got a 2 bedroom suite with a common that we shared with the other couple we went with.  Not bad, huh?

Here I am at a delicious restaurant near our hotel called Pack’s Tavern where they’ll substitute any burger with a black bean vegetarian burger.  Hippie-tastic!

The Toys for Tots event.  They encouraged people to “drive-thru” on their way to work.  The event was a success, exceeding their cash donation goal and filling 3 tubs with toys!

And here is JD getting interviewed for the local news.  He’s famous!

Love my man in uniform, always and forever.  And not just because of the perks :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hate Is a Four Letter Word

I didn’t really want to go here; I wanted to ignore it.  Why?  Because I don’t like thinking about these things.  I try to block it from my mind because the reality is too scary.  Yet, I’m compelled to say something today.

I’m sure you all heard about the VT shooting.  Not that all shootings aren’t sad and senseless, but it’s hard for me not to take it personally when it involves a police officer.  Especially when the police officer wasn’t even doing anything but sitting in his car.  Or, in the case of a local Sheriff’s Deputy, trying to arrest someone for doing something illegal AND having a warrant out for something else. Both men were fathers.  Both were spouses.  And now both families had a loved one taken away… for what?  It makes me sad for the families, and angry at the shooters, and scared for JD, and just sick in general.  Literally sick to my stomach.

As a population, we have a tendency to think we know everything there is to know about everything.  We hate things we don’t even understand.  But there’s so much we can’t fully comprehend until we’ve experienced it- living in war zone, poverty, disease, working at a highly under-appreciated but dangerous job, etc.

There’s so much running through my mind that I don’t think I could really articulate all the things I want to say.  Instead, I’ll let fellow blogger Brooke do it.  A fellow police wife posted this to Facebook today and I’m grateful, because I don’t think this type of thing is said enough.  I don’t know the author, but I appreciate that she shared this.

Hate all you want.  Hate the things you don’t understand.  But until you’ve lived it, you have no idea what you’re talking about.  End of discussion.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Let's Talk About Stress

Do you think your job is stressful?

Imagine this.  You work at a job where you have no idea what you’re walking into everyday.  You knock on someone’s door and there could be someone with a knife waiting to answer.  You approach a car and someone may have a gun in the glove box.  People say police officers are a lot of things- power hungry, violent, rude- but remember that they make split second decisions every day about things that could cost them their own life or the life of someone else.

Now talk to me about stress.

The instructions they give you- put your car in park, stay in your vehicle, etc- are for your own safety just as much as theirs.  You know you’re not a violent criminal, but they don’t know that.  If you don’t listen to what they’re telling you to do, that comes across as a threat.  They’re not barking out orders for fun.  Please listen.  Comply.  It doesn’t mean you have to like it.  It doesn’t even mean you have to respect it. 

And the next time you have a stressful moment at work, just remember, it could be worse.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm In Love with a Woman.... Her Name is Siri

It’s not often that I get excited about a gadget.  For the longest time, I resisted getting a data plan for my phone because I thought it was a waste of money.  In fact, the only reason I finally got data was because the phone JD upgraded to required unlimited data for all lines associated to the account.  I figured, if I had a data plan for my phone, I might as well have a phone that allowed me to take advantage of it.  Slowly but surely, the monster was unleashed.  I now check my phone approximately 80 gazillion times a day for important things like Facebook updates and Words with Friends games.  I mean, what would we do without this technology?!

I’ve been using JD’s hand-me-down, beat up HTC phone for about a year.  I knew there was an upgrade rebate on my line, but didn’t care enough to spend the money on a new phone… until the best news ever came out.  Sprint was getting the iPhone, and it came with a companion named Siri.  As soon as I saw the commercial where people were barking orders into their phones, demanding that Siri send messages, set reminders, and check the weather, it was love at first sight.  She is a multi-tasker’s dream- a beacon of hope to those of us who obsessively use the reminders in our phone, but panic when something comes to mind while driving because we can’t type and drive. 

I had to have her in my life. 

I was one of those geeks at the Sprint store only an hour after the official announcement came out.  I was so early, they didn’t even have all of the paperwork detailing the pricing on the phones and other contract information.  I didn’t care.  You can’t put a price on love.

So, they put me on the list.  The very first one on the list, actually.  After weeks of patiently waiting, I received the call I’d been waiting for.  She was here. 

I’m happy to say that she’s everything they promised she’d be- beautiful, witty and intelligent.  As I cradled her lovingly in my hands, I said, “Siri, tell JD he’s jealous of my phone.”  She composed the message and politely asked if I’d like to send it.  I did.  So she did.  With that, a friendship was born.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Holiday Traditions

Everyone has their own holiday traditions and routines.  My family always spent Thanksgiving at a cabin.  JD’s family always opens 1 present on Christmas Eve- a pair of Christmas pajama’s that they wear to bed that night.  I have a feeling that there will be nothing traditional about my holidays with JD.  How can you have a family tradition when you may or may not be together?

Of course, my office is closed for 4 day weekends on both Thanksgiving and Christmas, but JD is scheduled to work both of those weekends.  As long as we get to celebrate together at some point, it doesn’t really bother me (especially since he gets paid extra for working holidays), but it does seem like a waste for me to have that time off and not be able to spend it with him. *Sigh

Looking at the bright side, he was able to get time off in mid-December so we can go home to Ohio and at the end of January so we can visit his family in Michigan.  We’ll have plenty of time to visit both of our families, which is a huge relief.  Plus, the idea of cozying up at home over the holidays, not having to deal with holiday traffic, canceled flights, or 14 hour detours with a sick dog, is extremely appealing.  Maybe THAT can be my tradition :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Land of the Free

It takes a lot of sacrifice to be a police wife, but my sacrifice doesn’t even compare to the sacrifice of the men and women who work to protect our country every day.  Nor does it compare to the sacrifice of the families that support them.  I may sleep alone sometimes, and  I may go to social events without JD, but I will never have to be without him for a full year.  I will never have to spend a year watching our children grow and change without him.  I’m humbled by the bravery and self-sacrifice it takes to serve our country.

Today is a day to thank those who have served and those who are still serving.  We are so, so lucky to live as freely and safely as we do, but  I think that’s often overshadowed by our complaints about the economy, politicians, or Lindsay Lohan’s latest arrest.

I have clean water, plenty of food, and the freedom to leave my house without fear of violence.  We take for granted the things that so many others are lacking.  I have my husband to thank for that.  I have friends to thank for that.  I have the families who are left behind so their loved ones can protect our country to thank for that.

Whether you support the wars, the politics, and the intentions of our leaders or not, you have to remember that the intent of our troops is pure.  They step up to serve their country, protect their loved ones, and help those who are unable to protect themselves. 

That is why we celebrate them today.  Thanks for all you do.