Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Waiting Game

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a patient person. I’ve adjusted the microwave setting so that my two-minute breakfast sandwich is done in a minute and 10 seconds. I’ve learned how to bake a 15-minute pizza in eight minutes, without burning it (okay, most of the time). My 8-hour crockpot recipes usually take about five. I’m totally okay if you tell me how a movie ends, and I always read the end of a book first.

So it should come as no surprise that one of the things that drives me abso-friggin-lutely nuts about the military is how often I have to wait. I wait to get my ID card. I wait to sign in to wait to get my ID card. Actually, most places in the military you have to wait to sign in to wait. It’s one of the perks. I wait in line at the Post Office and the BX and the commissary (I also wait as long as humanely possible to GO to the commissary--that’s usually when we are down to grapefruit juice and a carton of expired Egg Beaters in the fridge--but that is another story...). I wait to find out if Jared is flying over the weekend. Wait to find out if Jared is coming home that night. Wait for the deployments and TDYs to arrive. Wait for the deployments and TDYs to end. Wait to find out if we can go on vacation. Wait to find out if we have to cancel our vacation. Then there is the biggie...the mother of all waits...the wait for ORDERS!

I do not wait for orders well. Actually, I don’t wait for the assignment well; orders are secondary, although I don’t wait for those well either. See, in the military they give you the assignment first and the orders later. Unfortunately, the assignment does not become official until the orders have arrived. And until the assignment is official (e.g., you have orders in hand) then essentially nothing can be done. You cannot arrange for your household goods to be packed, cannot ship your car, cannot make temporary living arrangements, cannot book flights. Nothing. What I have found you can do is sit there and work yourself into a high-strung bundle of nerves that leaves you questioning your sanity. You can also make lists. Lots of lists. Lists and lists of plans for what you will do when the orders finally arrive. Then the orders will arrive and said list will subsequently be destroyed because nothing...and I mean the military ever works out according to the plans you make. Murphy’s Law at its absolute finest.

So yes, as we have already established, I do not handle waiting for an assignment well. I’ve been like this since I was a kid. For those of you who don’t know, my Dad was in the Air Force for almost 27 years, so I am a military brat. I am also just generally a brat, but as usual, I digress....

Growing up, whenever my parents started talking about us being due for a new assignment, the daily litany began:

“Dad, where are we going?”

“I don’t know yet honey.”

“Dad, where are we going?”

“I don’t know yet honey”

“Dad do you know yet where we are going”

“No honey, I still don’t know. I promise you’ll know as soon as I know.”

“Dad wh-...”

“I don't know YET!”

And on and on this went until that glorious day when we found out where and when we were going to be moving. Surprisingly, my parents allowed me to live through all the moves we made growing up. Now my husband has to deal with it. This is probably why my dad gave such a big sigh of relief on our wedding day. At the time, I thought he was just trying to hold back tears. In hindsight, he was more likely holding back snorts of laughters as he envisioned what my dear, unknowing husband would soon have to deal with. Hmmm....

So once we found out where we were moving, phase 2 set in: absolute, unadulterated horror. What the heck...we actually have to leave?!?! As if the past six months of driving my parents insane didn’t allow enough opportunity for this little truth to set in. I mean, really, we actually have to MOVE??? As in leave? As in leave, LEAVE?!?! This phase of absolute, unadulterated horror is characterized by many sleepless nights, long periods of hysterically sobbing into my pillow, and the breaking of numerous inanimate objects as I introduce them to the wall.

You would think that I would have eventually outgrown when I became an “adult.” Yeah, right. If anything, it has gotten worse with age. I drive my husband crazy. I drive my parents and siblings crazy. Heck, I drive myself crazy! I have always been excessively Type-A, but when I sense a move on the horizon...well, my personality turns into Type-A on anabolic steroids. This time it is even worse because we are leaving Germany. Usually, after a couple of years in one place, ennui sets in. That is, until I’m actually informed of an imminent move. Please reference “absolute, unadulterated horror” above.

This time it really is different, though. I’m not restless. I’m not bored. There is still too much to see and do! I mean really, why would I willingly leave a place where I can say ever-so-nonchalantly...”hmmm....I think I’ll just run on over to Paris for the weekend. Or maybe Rome. Ohhhh.....but Berlin sounds nice, too. I just don’t know what fancy schmancy European city I want to visit this weekend.” Plus, the Germans have flammkuchen, Neuerwein, Spaghetti Eis and Kinder Eggs. Enough said.

So as evidenced by the gym strike mentioned in my previous post, reality has begun to set in. So has full-fledged, inanimate-object throwing anxiety. I’m like a hormonal pregnant chick minus the baby. Seriously. I’ve been my own one-woman emotional rollercoaster freak show for the last few days, couple of weeks, couple of months. A move is imminent. Must. Lose. All. Semblance. Of. Sanity. And apparently all my dignity in the process, as well. I think the low point came when I asked my husband who I needed to sleep with to get a good assignment around here. Then I asked if the squadron commander in England was a male. I was joking. I thought it was funny. The husband did not. Hasn’t he learned by now that I handle periods of immense stress with periods of totally inappropriate humor? Sigh. This was coming from the chick that laughed at her Granddad’s funeral when the Honor Guard guys turned the wrong way. In my defense, I had been crying for hours on end and needed something to stem the waterworks, however inappropriate it may have seemed. Also in my defense: my brother laughed, too.

Fortunately, my husband loves me in all my neurotic glory. Or at least he claims he does. Of course, I was taking aim at the wall with yet another inanimate object when he said this. Maybe he was just afraid to tell me the truth lest the next inanimate object be aimed at him: “Honey, you’re acting like a whacked-out sea monkey on a sugar high.” Next thing he knows, he’s waking up in the Emergency Room. Sorry honey, I missed the wall. Damn, I hate when that happens.

Please note that I only throw inanimate objects. I have not yet resorted to throwing my cats...or any other live the wall. Nor would I. I love my four-legged, furry children. Plus they have claws and a keen sense of vengeance. And there are four of them and one of me. I probably would not survive the post-throwing encounter.

I don’t want to leave Germany. I think that at this point that fact is rather evident. Sadly, since my gym strike failed to net us another extension, leave we must. And since we must leave, I just want to know where we are going. Now. Actually, I wanted to know about six months ago when I first started turning into a basket case.

The good news is that we should find out soon. The bad news is that we should find out soon. The other good news is that Jared will most likely be calling me from work to inform me of our new assignment. That means he won’t have to clean up all the shattered glass. The bad news is that he will have to stop by the BX on the way home from work and replace all of our dishes.

At least the cats will be safe.

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