Saturday, December 22, 2007

I've Moved -- but this time, it's not the Navy's fault!

When the folks at Military Spouse Magazine offered me a spot blogging on the MilSpouse website, I took about 2 seconds to think about it and said, "Um, yeah!"

Between that and my weekly newspaper column, however, (did I mention I'm raising 3 boys, too?) I'm not talented enough to come up with even more blog material here. Well, I could come up with it, but I can promise you that it would all be.....well, you know....

So hop on over to MilSpouse, on the right-hand side, click on "Sarah Smiley - Alpha Spouse" (their name for me, not mine. Really!), and leave me lots of good comments. Okay?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

"Who's Avery?": A Lesson on the Civil War

Perhaps we have been living in the South too long.

Today I overheard our oldest boys (Ford, 6, and Owen, 4) discussing the Civil War.

"Sorry, Owen, but the North wins," said Ford. "Slavery is bad."

Apparently this is a line straight out of Night at the Museum, but it took me by surprise nonetheless.

Owen said, "Who's Avery?"

"No, Owen, it's slavery, not Avery."

"Why is the slavery guy bad?" Owen said.

"It's not person, Owen. It's…it's….I don't know what it is."

Then they both yelled in unison, "Mom, what's slavery?"

This is the kind of moment for which no parenting book can prepare you. How do I explain slavery to a 6- and 4-year old?

I chose my words carefully. But before I tell you what I said, let me set the scene. The boys were coloring in the kitchen. I was sitting 8-feet away on the living room couch. In the airconditioning. Dustin was outside mowing the lawn. In the heat.

"Slavery is complicated," I said to the boys. "It means that one person makes another person do all the work…"

No, wait, what if they say, "Well you make Dad do all the work?" I thought and revised:

"I mean, it's when one person keeps another person from doing something they want to do so that they can instead do what the slave-keeper wants."

Oops. Did the boys hear me telling Dustin this morning that he couldn't go golfing because there was work to do?

"What I mean, boys, is that a slave was someone who plowed the field…"

No, too close "mowing the lawn".

"I mean, slaves did the hard work that no one else wanted to do…"

No, can't say that either.

Finally, I stood up and said, "Never mind. Aren't you guys too young to watch Night at the Museum anyway?"

Then I left the room and made a mental note to check the movie's rating next time I saw it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Excelling at Hypochondria

(Before you read, scroll down to the bungee-jumping picture below, guess who it is, and then continue....)

I don't want to brag, but one thing I excel at is being a hypochondriac.

Some people might say they are a hypochondriacs, but these are the people who simply go to WebMD to self-evaluate symptoms and then determine they have some kind of well-known Cancer.

True motivated hypochondriacs like me believe WebMD is useless. No, we go straight for the good stuff: literature meant only for doctors. I'm not satisfied with cheery information in laymans' terms. I need the facts.

I am probably one of the few people without a medical degree who knows what a digastric muscle is, where it's located and to which part of the body it refers pain. I've become fairly comfortable in my ability to investigate and understand diseases and conditions that scare the living heck out of me, but there is one area of medicine that still sends me into that downward spiral of despair: pharmaceuticals.

Pharmacists should never -- repeat: never-- give me those little inserts about what the drug I'm about to ingest might do or has done to four people in the past.

My husband Dustin gets a solemn look on his face any time I'm prescribed a new medication. That's because five doses into it, I'll still be asking him, "Do you think I'm allergic to this?" Sometimes I take the first dose of a medicine while the pharmacist watches. Just in case.

I'll give you a minute to get over laughing at me.

But in all seriousness, I get major anxiety about taking medicine. It's a control issue, I know. I've only been put under general anesthesia one time, and I was so afraid to give up control, the doctors said I talked until I was struck unconscious, and the last thing I said was: "Did I ever tell you guys that I've bungee jumped?"

Now, I know you'll be surprised to hear this, but I wasn't kidding about the bungee jumping. I've actually jumped 110 feet FOUR times.

So why can't I swallow an antibiotic without having an anxiety attack?

Well, perhaps I should back up and little and say that I didn't actually JUMP off the bungee platform. My brother pushed me. He called it shock therapy.

You see, some people will say I'm weak for my fears and anxiety, but when it comes right down to it, I think I might actually thrive on the challenge of overcoming fears.

Cheers [holding up my new bottle of antibiotics] to that!

Just in case you don't believe me that I bungee jumped (four times!), here's a photo:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Letting the Elephant Run

This blog began as a way to address multiple column gems in The Bachelor: An Officer and a Gentleman after my editors decided three back-to-back pieces on the subject was enough.

But now The Bachelor is over, and I find myself hesitant to delete this blog. I rather like having a place to vent my uncensored thoughts and rejected column ideas.

Therefore, I am renaming "Letting the Elephant Run."

Abraham Lincoln once said, "When you have an elephant by the hind legs and he wants to run, it's best to let him go."

Somehow this quote pops into my head throughout my daily life as a mom to three boys.

What does it mean?

I'll let you decide.

How Much Leave Can One Man Take?

I almost fell out of my chair during last night's "After the Final Rose" episode of The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman. First LT Andy Baldwin said that he and his new fiance, Tessa Horst, had immediate plans to visit family on the East Coast. Then, Chris Harrison presented them with a gift -- a hike on the Inca Trail.

Dustin called out from the other room, "Is that guy still in the Navy?"

I know Baldwin claims to have taken 60 days of personal leave to film the show, but my gosh, he's seemingly been on one long media tour ever since, and now he's going on vacation?

All I can say is I wish I had known this eight years ago when my husband almost couldn't get leave for one weekend to get married.

No, I'm not bitter (or, maybe I am), but here's what my Navy husband has been doing since Baldwin started his Bachelor odyssey earlier this year: missing his sons' tee-ball games and preschool graduation while he works 14-16 hour days.

Before you tell me my husband could take leave if he wanted to, let me say that just because you have leave on the books doesn't always mean that you can (or should) use it.

And also, sometimes being in the military plain stinks.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Do You Accept These Ducky Pajamas?

My mom, a Navy wife of 30+ years, called me after LT Andy Baldwin on the last episode of The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentleman told Tessa Horst (now his fiancee) that she was beautiful in blue.

Mom was trying to get my dad to say that she is beautiful in her pajamas with ducks on them.

I told Mom that my husband had given me Pink Eye.

We both hung up and went to bed.

That's reality.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Men in Uniform: There's More Than One

Chris Harrison: "Which woman's dreams of marrying a man in uniform will end TONIGHT?"

Me: Thank God I got my man in uniform because apparently there is only ONE!

Note to all of Andy's discarded bachelorettes: There are more men in uniform out there.