Deployment Law

First of all, Justin is not deployed. He’s just stationed 7,000 miles away from us.

Also, I had intended on writing a post about me getting peer pressured into doing the Reverse Sprint Triathlon. It will start out that way, but then thanks to “Deployment Law,” it will all go terribly wrong.

Thursday at work, I was convinced by a co-worker to do the Reverse Sprint Tri–I did it last year, so why not?! I hired a babysitter, threw my bike rack on the van, put air in my bike tires, and went out for a 4 mile run. I was ready!

Or was I?

This morning I got there, and got everything set up. I went into the pool’s guard room and dropped my stuff off. 5 minutes into the run I thought, “wait–did I bring my bike helmet into the guard room?! Surely not!” Oh, I surely did.

So, after adding a good 2/10 mile onto the already 3.4 mile run, I hopped on my bike and away I went. Biking has never been so hard. No matter what I did, I really felt like I was putting WAY too much effort into it. At 3 miles I realized the back tire was making weird noises. At miles, I hopped off to see what was up.

My tire was flat. Painfully flat. I pulled out my phone and thought about who I could possibly contact. My list of acquaintances is short, consisting mainly of people I work with–people currently working, or racing. But the truck that was bringing up the rear was rapidly approaching. Quick! Act like you’re calling someone!

I panicked, and FaceTimed Justin. The truck pulled over and asked if everything was ok: “Oh, it’s fine. I have a flat tire.”

“Do you have someone coming to pick you up? Are you sure you’re ok?”

I am a big fat liar. I told them it was fine–I just lived down the street. It’s not entirely false. I do live down the street…and then another take a left and go another 2 miles. Either that, or say, “it’s cool, but I don’t actually know people.”

Introvert problems.

I cried a little (ok, I cried a lot) to Justin: “why does this crap have to happen!?” It’s the second race I’ve failed this year. No, this wasn’t a panic attack-induced drop out, but still!

After letting him know what happened, I was offered a ride from Dom, aka the co-worker who talked me into this in the first place. I told him it was no biggie; I was almost home. Also not a lie, but I did still have a 3 mile walk back to work so I could get my car (sorry Dom, I’m a liar).

This is what we in my family call “being a Ballschmieder.”

No no, everything is fine! I am a thousand percent ok with walking my bike home, and then all the way back to work to get my car. I don’t want to be a burden–just don’t wait for me.

So, Deployment Law: basically, if it can go wrong, it will, while your husband is TDY, or deployed, or stationed on the other side of the world. Ask any army wife, and they will tell you a horrible story of something going terribly wrong while their husband was gone. It might be the same in the civilian world too, who knows. I was thinking this morning about the fact that we’ve gone a full week, and it’s been going relatively smoothly. I’m staying positive, because my worry is that it’s all downhill from here.

Or uphill, on flat tires.

It’s Not You, it’s Verizon

Since Justin left, I’ve been making sure to do all the things he probably should’ve taken care of before he left–making sure the bank knows he’s out of the country, updating car insurance policies, and of course temporarily suspending his phone number.

Verizon took it upon themselves to do one better…I guess?

Tuesday night, after getting home at almost 8, I grabbed the mail and ran inside to help my kiddos get to bed. I paid no attention to the mail, because it honestly looked like junk–until I caught Emma trying to eat an envelope. Upon grabbing it from her, I realized it was from Verizon.

Instantly I thought, “oh, I bet this is a ‘how was your experience,’ letter,” since Justin and I spent 2 afternoons AT Verizon the week prior, trying to get his phone issue sorted out (they were helpless. But hooray to the lady at the Apple Store who, in under 5 minutes, was able to tell Justin his microphone was broken, and hand him a brand new replacement).

I was so very wrong.

They voted us off the island!


Instead, Verizon had sent me (well, Justin, since the account is in his name), a “Dear John” letter.

Did you SERIOUSLY just break up with me in a LETTER?!?!

I read it; I re-read it. This must be some kind of mistake. I’ve had Verizon since I got my first phone, 16 years ago! I made Justin switch to Verizon when we started talking on the phone so much that our phone bills were getting out of hand (remember free Verizon to Verizon calls? Back before calls were unlimited). Then, after we had to cancel our accounts to move to Germany (which they were awesome about, by the way), we came BACK to Verizon when we got back in 2009. When Justin was deployed, all it took was a phone call, and they temporarily suspended his number, and instantly reactivated it as soon as I called and said he was home. I have talked them up for years, because they’ve been downright awesome!

And this is how we get treated?! You’re breaking up with me?!?!

Yesterday, I called. The customer service woman giggled when I told her we’d been voted off the island. “Well, I see how it could feel that way.” After telling me it was perfectly legal, and all companies do it, she said, “but what Verizon does differently is we waive all cancellation fees and pay off all devices.”

Wait I’m sorry, you waive our cancellation fees?! After telling us we’re being evicted?! Are you flipping joking?!?!

She then told me that things might change in the coming weeks for military families, but, “you should probably go ahead and have a backup carrier, just in case.” Have a backup carrier?! As if I’m going to hold onto my account with you after you already broke up with me?!

I want to say the last time anyone broke up with me was probably 2004. Maybe. My initial reaction upon reading the letter was quite similar: “I can change! What if I use less data!? What if…” By the time I made the phone call, I was no longer a jilted young girl, worried about how she’d go on without him. Nope–you want to drop me, and tell me if nothing better comes along, you might take me back? Sorry, but I’m gone. I’ll take the gifts you’ve given me over our years together, and I appreciate you paying off our phones (especially since we only bought them a few months ago). But I’m not waiting by the phone, hoping you change your mind. This relationship is over!

The Aquatics Career that Wasn’t

For the past few weeks, I have taken on the role of “Acting Aquatics Coordinator,” while the current Assistant Manager is recuperating from back surgery. It has been hectic. I had to organize and run an Easter event, which consisted of LOTS of running around, LOTS of being organized (or pretending to be at least), and LOTS of talking. Talking to parents. Talking over a sound system. Talking to angry parents. Talking to kids. So much talking happened. I put my performance major to work–only, with less singing. I spent the week telling Justin, “if I can just get through Saturday, everything will calm down and I can take a breath.”

Just kidding.

For those of you who live ABOVE the Mason/Dixon line, you probably don’t realize that summer is about to start here in the south. Which means prepping a water park to open. And doing everything required to make sure a water park  can open. I have dealt with marketing, done a lot of ordering, and sent in so many work orders. In fact, the Aquatics Director informed me yesterday, “you know, Sam, not all work orders have to be written work orders. Most you can just email.” To the magic work order fairy, obviously (as he failed to mention where one sends these work orders). Meanwhile, some high-up here at Fort Knox is sitting in his office asking, “why does Samantha Steeves need my approval to have sink sensors replaced!?” The work force on post is getting these approved work orders and thinking, “dang, we better act fast!” Maybe I’m on to something here.

In the last pay period, I worked 64 hours. I know, I know, that’s over 2 weeks. But normally, it’s a big deal if I go over 30. Which is plenty, because I still have to rush home and be a full time stay at home mom!

This afternoon when I checked my email and saw that the second Assistant Aquatics Manager position is open, and will be filled, I was excited and bummed all at once. The timing sucks.

I am the “always the bridesmaid; never the bride” of aquatics. In 2006, I was the ACTING Aquatics Director for 5 months before the position opened–2 months before we were getting ready to leave for Germany. In 2008, I was the ACTING Aquatics Director for 4 months when the position in Germany opened–a month before my due date. This time around, it’s Assistant Aquatics Director, which I was for nearly 2 years in Germany. Unfortunately, we’re less than 4 weeks away from summer vacation.

I will now sit back and watch kids a decade my junior, duke it out over a position I am beyond qualified for. Childless, 25-year-old Sam is inside screaming, “what are you doing!?!? Apply for the damn job!” And the practically-35-year-old Sam is telling that voice to quit it. This is about to be summer vacation! That time where my kids and I get to kick back, play outside, swim all day and eat ice cream, visit family, and just enjoy the weather. I so badly want to once again advance my aquatics career, but I still want to be a stay at home mom!

If this past 3 weeks has taught me anything, it’s that I am not one of those amazing women that can handle a full time job and be a functioning mother and wife. My house is a crazy mess. I’m pretty sure Xander’s school re-registration form is somewhere, waiting to be put back in his backpack (only in the military do you have to register your kids for school every year. Ah, military life).

Aquatics will always be the career I go back to, and these last 2 years have done a lot to remind me of that. I ran a pool. Heck, I ran 4 pools! When the assistant comes back, or the second assistant is hired, I will step back down to “just a lifeguard” once more. I will mentor and help them in any way I can.

Someday, in 6 or more years, I will be able to pursue my career, while Justin takes on the role of Stay at Home Dad. I can’t wait to come home at the end of the day and ask, “what did you do all day!?”

Just kidding–our house will probably be spotless.