Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Random Deployment Side-Effect

So my last two posts were about how when the husband/spouse goes on a deployment we create these weird little routines that are borderline OCDish but are a natural reaction to feel safe and how when the husband gets home, all those little routines are disturbed.

I wrote those from my memory of such experiences, but when my husband came home from a detachment more recently, so I got to experience these things again and noticed stuff I didn’t remember.

photo  ©2012  Hey Paul Studios, Flickr

Since he’s been home, I’ve noticed I’m suddenly all about changing things that have seemed frozen in time the last two months that he’s gone. One of my crazy things that I do to feel safe when he’s gone is center myself in my house. I don’t use exterior rooms and stay pretty close to the middle of the house. So, I started working in the kitchen. I have an office in our house and actually moved my laptop to the kitchen counter while he was gone. It felt like this worked and would have to be the way from now on despite the inconveniences of it, but now that he’s back, I’m suddenly feeling this urgent need to create a better workspace because this is actually not so convenient.

Another example: the entire time he was away, I’ve had this problem with the cats getting up on our couch whenever we are not in the room or the house, and I would yell at them when I saw them but kind of succumbed to this idea that there was nothing to be done. However, suddenly now that he’s home, I have all these new ideas and drive to fix this cat on the couch crisis.

It’s like my mind was actually frozen. When he’s away I feel like nothing can change, frozen in time until he gets back. This is how a lot of things have to be because certain things actually cannot happen while he’s gone, but more than that got frozen in my head, stuff that I could change and that needed changing but I froze them and not on purpose.

It feels like a sudden freedom to change things. When I think about it, this has happened to me during every deployment. Perhaps it’s another safety mechanism. Stay safe, don’t change anything, and when he gets back he’s changing things and I feel safer so I become less rigid. I don’t know I’m just now really thinking about it and haven’t had time to analyse yet.

Leave a Comment: Do you guys ever experience this phenomena?  


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I dated and married my husband in 2004 when I was 19. I felt like an outsider for the first half of our marriage. He didn't understand what I needed to know about the Navy, and I didn't know what to ask.

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  1. Here is something I wrote a few months ago somewhat realted to this topic:

    It is mid-April and my husband deploys to the Middle East in seven weeks. I’m a new Navy wife so I have been trying to read up on how one prepares for a spouse to ship out for fourteen months. So far nothing has been helpful as Navy wives seem to be either young and mainly concerned with having and taking care of babies or if they are my age, cynical and seasoned about all aspects of a long-distance marriage. However, if I study carefully between the lines, a few important themes emerge: pre-departure distancing, honeymoon-like reunions and the struggle of relearning to live together.

    I read about how men tend to be emotionally distant prior to a deployment, especially if they have deployed before. Six months ago, I didn’t believe that this would be an issue for us. We went to Hawaii in February for a blissful week of togetherness and have been on several dates every week since. Three years into our marriage and we’ve been blessed to spend so much time together—we even have lunch together almost every day. Usually we split a sandwich and watch “The Price is Right” in our living room, but sometimes we venture out to a salad bar or visit a French cafĂ© for soup. I love to catch his eye while we eat so we can both smile at each other and I think “Isn’t this a great life?” and “Aren’t we lucky?”

    Of course, we have also done the distance thing. During our courtship and first year of marriage we logged plenty of airport time and what I took to call “the time in-between.” But two years of waking up together and partnering as parents and managing a household has turned us into a synchronized team that really counts on the other person being there and fully present.

    When we first learned about this “unaccompanied tour” it sparked a bit more romance and intensity in our relationship. I suppose a little drama will do that. Lots of long talks and hand holding made me feel like we were dating again. The idea of the distance and an end date on our time together was exciting in the abstract. And then this week reality set in with a final travel itinerary and confirmation that movers would be here May 3rd.

    The shift is subtle, but permeating. There are suddenly topics neither one of us want to bring up and sentences that hang because you don’t want to finish them with “that will be after you’re gone” or “I’ll have to figure out how to do that by myself.” We are both a little broody. He is fixated about certain projects around the house. Even after I tell him that there is no way I am using the fireplace or the grill on my own, he goes to great lengths to stock firewood and charcoal. Instinctively I don’t say any more about it because I know it’s somehow significant for him. He also becomes paradoxically obsessed with my safety even though he is the one headed to the Middle East. As a result, I now have an earthquake kit and a fireproof safe and a power of attorney.

    UPDATE: It is now mid-August and I have been on my own as it were for over two months. Thank god for Skype! I love your blog as I have been both OCD and lazy about every aspect of my routine/life. I feel like I am in survival mode, getting my kids to school, working and trying to exercise a bit. I feel like I don't want to really go out with friends as it feels safer to just have wine and watch TV on a Friday night. Not sure why that is, but I don't really like venturing too far from home--even to do errands.

  2. Jane, Jill and Hannah,

    Thank you for your comment and sharing your post. Your feelings are spot on when it comes to such a big transition like that. I completely relate to the feeling of it being difficult to leave the house and with that said, I think you've inspired my next post so check back next Wednesday. =)

    Thanks again for reading and commenting.



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