Life

When Your Husband Brings Home A Goat

I once woke up around 6 am and found a duck in my bathtub.

Yes, a live duck, swimming in the bathtub.

Why?

My husband had hit it with his truck on accident, and he wanted to be sure it was okay, so he brought it home.

I wasn’t happy. Eventually the duck went back to the pond and everything was fine…but today….today there was a goat.

Today my husband left to go to the VA. He got there and of course his appointment was cancelled and no one told us. He did still need to get labs done, so I expected him to get his blood taken and return….

Three hours later I had a goat in my driveway.

A live, living, breathing, $#!++ing goat.

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My husband proceeds to tell me the goat belongs to his cousin George who has a small farm next to my husband’s parents. The goat keeps getting out and my father-in-law wanted to just eat the stupid thing, because it’s always getting into the cow pasture.

So my husband decides the best thing is to bring it home.

He claims it’s temporary until George comes home and decides what to do with it, but after my husband put it in the back yard, our daughter proceeded to walk up to it and introduce herself. She said “Hi, I’m Talia!” and then continued talking to the goat and referring to it as “friend.”

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I would love to blame this one on the PTSD, or the Marine Corps…but this is all my husband and his “Redneckery” as I like to call it.

He said “welcome to country living” but I feel like we don’t need a goat in our yard to be “country….”

I digress.

Now he’s in the other room telling me we should name it “Gyro.” Um…..wrong animal!!!

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever come home to? What would you do if there was a goat in your yard? Who wants to place bets it will still be in my yard in the morning?

Life

Happy Birthday….in Heaven

My step-son would be 11 today.

Instead of planning a big party with cake and ice cream (and probably a hockey game) we have to visit him in a cemetery.

I never met Riley.

In fact, my husband hardly did either. Riley was “born sleeping” as they say, meaning he was stillborn.

My husband has been through so much, but I worry losing his first son was probably among the worst of it. It is probably worse than a father he never knew, or losing his mom when he was 12. It is probably worse than any loss in Iraq on deployment.

He was deployed to Iraq when he got the Red Cross phone call his son would not make it to be born alive. At seven months pregnant, his first wife had lost the baby.

I won’t get into a blame game, especially since I only get one half of the story (I’ve never met either of the ex-wives, which I’m totally cool with) and because we know where Riley is. He’s in heaven. I imagine (for some reason) he takes lots of walks with my great-grandfather, who never met either of our children. I don’t know why I imagine this…I just do.

They flew my husband back for Riley to be born sleeping. He buried him. He returned to Iraq. Less than three weeks after Riley, my Bill was in a convoy where he lost two guys and almost lost a third after hitting an IED. We are lucky he’s alive…we are lucky all those who survived are alive, my husband included.

I know my husband was mad at God for a long time over losing his son. There’s no rhyme or reason we as humans can understand when it comes to loss, especially one like that.

I just know he’s okay now, and one day my husband will not hurt, but he will see him again.

For now, even though we struggle, he is the absolute best father to our two children (who are too young to understand having an older brother in heaven). He does spoil them, but I let it go, knowing he’s making up for lost time with Riley.

Today we will go to the store, Bill will ask me what I think an 11 year old wants, and we will go leave it next to his headstone.

I know I struggle with it….I cry every time I’m there.

Sometimes I go alone.

Usually I have to give Bill a reason to go there, such as putting up decorations, etc.

I know Riley isn’t there….I know he’s in heaven. I also know there is nothing I can do to make my husband feel better about the loss of a child.

Usually he sits in the truck (my husband) and just stares at the grave. He makes a comment like “no one should bury their child,” or “all these poor families.” (Riley is in a special section of the cemetery for babies.)

It’s painful to look. You see all the graves of parents who are there every week with custom toys and decorations for their lost child, their names embroidered on teddy bears and flags. You also see the untouched graves of the children whose parents can’t bring themselves to go there, or in some cases, even order the headstone, so a marker sits there years later.

So for today, all I can do is pray. It’s hard to lean on God for comfort. I think it’s because we want answers and healing and as humans we want it right away.

Think of my husband today…….

Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Life

The Therapy Backfire Conundrum

We went to therapy.

Couples therapy.

It was supposed to help.

We were supposed to engage in couples therapy for an indefinite amount of time.

It was supposed to make it all better.

WE HATED IT.

Crazy, right? Therapy is supposed to help!

Let’s back up a bit, shall we?

My husband gets out of the Marine Corps and we are still living in Charleston, SC (USA). We decide to move to Illinois (his home state) a few years later. His PTSD has worsened, my depression isn’t always great, and we want to be near family.

We wait 10 months for the VA to get my husband into any type of therapy.

Read that again…..

We wait 10 months for the VA to get my husband into any type of therapy.

I would call and call and call….eventually we find out the therapy is better if we go to the Vet Clinic. The VA is a complete waste of time. They did nothing to help us keep him in therapy when we moved between states. The suggestion to go to the Vet Center is a God-send.

We do as we are told.

First we get Bill into therapy, but then couples therapy is offered to us.

We went.

It was a shouting match.

We went again.

This is stupid.

We literally went into the appointment fine, and came out ready to punch each other in the face.

So what did we resolve to do?

We WILL go back next week, because we have the appointment, and it must be helping on some level, but we talked about resolving to work on our marriage ourselves. Waiting for a 1 hour therapy session once a week, which actually made us more mad than we went in, isn’t what we are looking for.

I will say this: Our therapist is wonderful.

I just don’t know if this is the right approach for us.

There are a bunch of things we both have said we would work on ourselves. So hopefully we can do more at home, than a 60 minute shouting match (which, think about this…he’s a Marine, and I’m Italian-American…….it gets SO LOUD). Our poor therapist.

Working through relationship problems are hard, especially when you’re working with mental health road-blocks, like having PTSD, TBI, or depression. It means we need to work on those things AND the relationship.

We haven’t given up.

We resolved to stop saying things like “well then move out” or asking “do you just want a divorce?”

We feel like taking those things out of the vocabulary may help the healing.

Be well,

Tina

 

Life

It Makes Sense…

When you’re a military spouse, and/or when you have toddlers running around, nothing makes sense.

This morning was a perfect example. I gave our three-year-old a new sippy cup. It did not have Minnie Mouse on it…. We had an appointment at the Vet Center for both Bill and I, so I did not have time to dig out requested Minnie Mouse sippy cup.

Our daughter proceeded to act as though I had ruined her entire life, by throwing herself on the kitchen floor and wailing for a solid three minutes (which felt like a lifetime) and then only stopped when I pointed out to her she had forgotten why she was upset.

In the end, she took the sippy cup because her brother was about to grab it from her.

Ugh…

The sippy cup war is not the point of this post.

Since writing the other day about how I felt as far as life of a military spouse whose husband has combat-related PTSD, I have felt better about things. This blog now has a purpose. I feel as though I have direction. I need to share my story of pain, and share how we are healing, because the more mil-spouses I meet, the more I realize, I am not alone.

There are times when being in a relationship with someone who has PTSD is lonely. It’s worse when you factor in my own Major Depressive Disorder. It’s like a whole house of craziness (just kidding….sort of).

So where do we go from here?

Well, there’s a lot of hurt and healing in a military marriage, so I will be open and share that with you. As a yoga instructor who focuses on helping people with mental health, I will try and help there too (just remember, I am not a doctor, I don’t play one on TV, and I can only tell you what I have experienced and what has helped me.)

I am working on a page of resources for other mil-spouses going through the same thing. Check back next week to see how I am coming along there.

Most importantly, be sure to share this website with other mil-spouses who are in the same boat. It’s lonely. It can be scary. It’s nice to have a friend.

I feel as though there are some really great blogs out there about being a military spouse. I’ll be sure to share those as we go. I just am yet to really find one about the mental aspect of military life and mental health, so here we go……

Life

A Thousand Painful Words….

I’ve tried writing this post a thousand times, and each time I write over a thousand words…then I delete it all.

So let me try again.

The premise of this blog is the crazy adventure I’m on with my husband, kids, and our zoo of rescue pets…but it’s hard to update a blog and keep it funny and REAL when there’s so much background pain.

I have never hidden the fact I struggle with mental illness.

I do not hide the fact my husband had combat-related PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury).

What I have hidden from everyone is the pain and hurt it has caused.

I came to the realization last night, the relationship with my husband is in trouble and I feel emotionally abused.

It’s painful.

While he is absolutely the BEST father in the world to our children, I am currently living in a hell on earth.

My struggle has been, do I let this out? Do I put it out there for all the world to see? Or do I just suffer in silence and wish we had a better relationship?

If I DO put it out there, it could negatively affect my writing and yoga career. If I continue to hide it, no one else struggling with the same issues will see they are not alone.

It IS lonely in this place. There are others in this space. I know they are there….in the distance, suffering, and in pain. So I decided to let it out.

Though I know I should blame the combat and his eight years in the Marines, it’s hard to find solace in this, knowing we don’t connect, knowing I feel alone, worrying about the drinking, cheating, lying, money spending.

It sounds like a mess.

It is a mess.

It’s painful.

I could sit here and tell you all the horrible things he has done, but that does nothing to help anyone. Some of it is unbelievable….like when I thought he was going to kill me in the garage when he was on a drunken rampage talking about things from his deployments, specifically Iraq.

Can I hang on?

What about my kids?

I guess the focus of this blog must change.

I guess I need to refocus my life in general.

I’m 36 and in a lonely place, when I wanted to be settled, accomplished, and happy.

I am none of those things right now.

So if you’re a military spouse, if you know someone with mental illness, if you have mental illness…you…are…not…alone in this lonely, lost place.

 

Uncategorized

God Broke My Oven

Yes, you read that right. I feel like my busted oven is God giving me direction. Sound crazy? Well, I get that a lot!

I have always been super active. Even as a child, my parents were called in by my kindergarten teacher so they could ask my parents what to do with me. I wasn’t a bad kid…I just never sat still…for a second. I naturally brought this over to adulthood. I now work full time in hockey (NAHL), I run my yoga studio, I blog, I’m working on my third novel, I have two children/6 dogs/3 cats, and a husband….. I also have a million ideas for other projects. If I had all the time in the world, I would have my own vegan skin care line, and a hockey clothing company supporting youth hockey. I wish there were about 10 more hours in the day.

So I started to pray.

I know I’m a shitty Christian…I’m the first to admit it.

I prayed anyway.

I wanted to know what my purpose was in life. My pastor talks all the time about purpose….so what is mine?

I needed clear direction. I’m 36 years old and I feel like I’m just walking in circles here. These circles are full of half completed projects which are getting me nowhere.

So I continued to pray and try and weed out the things I was not meant to do.

I stopped some of the smaller projects because I just felt they weren’t “it” for me.

Then I decided I should work on my freelance writing and building up my clients, while making room to write novels on the side. I started pitching new clients, but everyone who was interested had a “limited” budget or no budget at all. I could feel this wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing.

Then I debated. Maybe I wanted to go back to baking full time. Maybe I should re-open my bakery. My mom and I had some killer ideas for Biscotti and selling them across the country. I knew where I could use a commercial oven….I thought I should make a go of it.

Then God killed my oven.

I had an order for a cake, and thank goodness it was for a friend….because my oven died half way through the baking process, leaving me a giant sheet cake pan, half-baked.

It was gross. I mean, how do you clean that???

Because I already filed our taxes, I knew we were getting a return. We figured we would use it to buy a new oven.

Then our taxes get held up for 45 days with no explanation from the IRS.

I’m aggravated, but I get the message. It’s not baking.

Then last night I get the whole message.

I was teaching my regular yoga class and just enjoying it. I hate being away from my family at night, but I have cut back to one hour, two nights a week. I contemplate how I can just get everything worked out to teach more. I also want to really get some more education on my chosen area of yoga, which is mental health.

My husband has combat related PTSD and I have Major Depressive Disorder, so naturally, yoga for mental health just clicked with me.

I really started making plans (while on the mat) to keep moving that education forward. I had been granted a scholarship for Warriors at Ease. I can do the class in a self-paced manner, but I need to put the other projects aside and step it up.

Then I started to think about the struggles my husband and I have in our personal/family life, especially with his PTSD…..I was waiting for him to get home last night and while talking to him on the phone, I opened up Facebook (I told you I couldn’t sit still). An advertisement popped up for a teacher training to work with Veterans in St. Louis, MO. It’s only about 90 minutes from me AND it’s over my birthday weekend. How perfect for us to spend the weekend as a family in St. Louis? (Here’s to hoping the Blues are home that weekend for pre-season!)

It seemed too perfect…and it seems maybe between the oven breaking, the desire to only write novels and closed freelancing doors, this was the answer.

I suppose it’s too soon to say, though I also found another online free training for businesses who work with veterans just on accident last night.

I ran all of this by my mom who also believes all these things are happening because I am faithfully asking for God’s help (but remember I already know I’m a shitty Christian) so sometimes it seems like he should not have the time or desire to answer me….but I guess I can start on this path and find out!

Writing & Publishing

Can I Get a Do-Over?

Did you set some New Year resolutions this year? I did. One of them was to blog more. Yeah….at least once a week. Don’t look back now, but that has NOT happened!

Why?

Things like The Case of the Missing Eggs, and The Butterscotch Pudding Incident have kept me away.

Allow me to explain.

Our oldest child (Talia) just turned three. She LOVES eggs. She thinks helping mom bake is about the coolest thing ever (poor kid). I noticed one day, there seemed to be some eggs missing from the tray. I didn’t think too much about it, since hubby often makes the kids breakfast to include eggs.

A few days later, I pull the laundry out of the dryer, only to see egg shells trapped in the lint trap…but no eggs. I asked Bill about it, and he just shrugged it off.

I moved on.Eggs Image

Three days later, I notice the dogs and toddler got into one of the cabinets in the kitchen. The pudding was missing, and a light brown dusting ran from the kitchen to Talia’s room. Sure enough, I checked her room and Peppa Pig, the bright pink comforter, and cream colored carpet were covered in several packages of pudding mix.

So now I have to strip the bed, clean up all the packaging, and wash the comforter without making pudding in our new washing machine.

I was about to hand over my mom card and toss the whole thing outside, when upon picking up the comforter, our rolls about four half cooked eggs. They weren’t raw, but they sure as heck weren’t hard boiled.

My mind immediately went to the eggs shells from the dryer, and then I pieced it all together.

My aspiring pastry chef daughter must have taken the eggs to play with, left them in the dirty laundry pile, and Bill didn’t see them when he loaded the washer. They then went with the bedding into the dryer, where they were slightly cooked, and peeled of their shells, which ended up in the lint trap.

Now I have a comforter covered in pudding mix, half cooked eggs on the floor, a toddler laughing, and three of the six dogs trying to get at the eggs and pudding mix.

Bill is, of course, MIA when this goes down, so I have to battle the kids, dogs, and mess on my own. I call my mom, who is laughing too hard to help. I hand the phone to Talia so my mom can at least long-distance-babysit for a minute.

I can’t toss the comforter outside, because the other dogs are out there. I can’t toss it in the wash, because both the washer and dryer are loaded.

In the end, I finally let all the dogs in, threw the comforter out the door, and organized the chaos just in time for Bill to get home and the laundry done.

So what is the point?

Well, no one is getting butterscotch pudding EVER again, but these are the reasons I have been so bad about blogging.

My lack of writing in general has been nagging at me lately, so I packed up all the extra things in my life which don’t make me happy. I cut back on the number of hours I teach yoga, I cleaned up my office, and I packed up the millions of little projects around the house.

I feel better.

So now, my new focus is on writing. I still have to work my 9-5 job for now (but seriously, I work in hockey, so it’s about the best 9-5 job you could ask for), but I’m moving toward being able to write full time.

Will you tag along on the journey? What if I promise to write to you, dear reader, more often?

Let’s try!