Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jarrod's Deployment: What I've Learned


Jarrod gets home from Afghanistan on Friday -- only two days away! After over six months apart (more than seven if you count training) I am absolutely thrilled that I will soon have my husband and best friend back. The past half-year has somehow both flown by and dragged on. It's amazing to look back and think about all the things I've experienced, discovered and conquered while Jarrod's been away. Here are some things I've learned:

1. I don't really like driving and I'd prefer Jarrod to drive everywhere we go, but I am in fact perfectly capable of getting around on my own -- even in Waikiki with its confusing one-way streets, claustrophobic parking garages and hordes of jaywalking tourists. I still can't parallel park, though.

2. We need a bigger bed. Sorry babe, but I have not slept this well in over five years! A queen-size bed is just too small for a husband, a wife, an 80-pound dog and a cat.

3. Making meals for one is hard. I'm proud to say that, for the most part, I kept to my goal of cooking real food for myself these past six months. But my list of meals appropriate for one (usually with plenty of leftovers) has been woefully small and it'll be a while before I want to eat dishes such as spaghetti, reubens, fajitas, tomato bisque or chicken curry again!

4. When you're by yourself, sometimes cooking just doesn't seem worth the effort. And that can lead to eating shamefully un-nutritious "meals." One night after working until 9 p.m., I came home and had a bag of microwave popcorn, a Diet Coke and a miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cup for dinner. I didn't even eat that poorly in college!

5. Even with more-than-ample free time, few obligations, a fancy-pants elliptical in my house, two new sports bras and no one around to see me rain sweat, I still could not keep up with a workout routine. Meanwhile, my husband  -- who worked for 12+ hours every day of the past six months -- did manage to stick to an exercise plan while he was deployed and he has now lost something like 20 pounds and can run at least a half-marathon. Sigh...

6. I suspected this before, but it's now entirely confirmed: I am a total comfort eater. My go-to stress-relieving foods the past six months have been Starbucks white chocolate mochas and popcorn. (Oddly, I've been kind of ambivalent towards popcorn all my life, but somewhere during the deployment I started craving it incessantly!)

7. Jarrod and I do pretty much everything together, which I love, but it's been a nice change of pace to spend time cultivating meaningful friendships with some kindred spirits whose company I genuinely enjoy. Many of the friendships I've had in the past several years have formed simply because both of our husbands are in the military, not because we actually have much in common. It's been so refreshing to actually be myself -- dorky, book-obsessed, foul-mouthed, sarcastic, straightforward, relaxed -- instead of the rather closed-off Lindsay I had been around those other people. That's a major life lesson learned and I'm going to endeavor to follow it in the future -- always be my full, complete weird self and if other people don't like it, screw them.

8. Technology can be amazing -- and amazingly frustrating. But even when I was so annoyed with poor internet connections, misbehaving Skype and lagging conversations that I wanted to take my iPad out front and run it over with the car, I was still grateful for the chance to talk to my husband nearly every day. Some soldiers aren't so lucky due to lack of facilities, internet availability, location or their jobs and are forced to communicate almost entirely via e-mail (which would have sucked for me because Jarrod hates to write e-mails). We typically Skyped six days a week and occasionally Jarrod would call on the phone and, despite any technological issues we may have had, I always tried to remember to simply be thankful for the opportunity to talk to Jarrod across thousands of miles and a 14.5-hour time difference. I think Skype, more than anything else, helped me survive the deployment.

9. I have never lived by myself before (the longest I'd been without parents, roommate or spouse had been three weeks) and I was glad to learn that I can indeed survive my own company. I've stayed busy with work, friends, hobbies, and Conan's gazillion trips to the vet, and I wasn't nearly as bored or lonely as I feared I would be. Though I've missed Jarrod terribly, the deployment really wasn't as utterly heartbreaking and miserable as I expected. I'm proud to say that I'm pretty much exactly the same woman Jarrod left six months ago -- extra 10 pounds included. I haven't cheated on my husband, had a nervous breakdown or whined about Murphy's Law on Facebook. I learned that I can handle difficult things on my own -- and that my marriage can handle over six months of separation. And, as they say, absence makes the heart grown fonder. We'll see just how true that is on Friday!


  1. I love this post. you're so cute and honest and it's great to hear :) glad he's home, but I'm also glad you learned things about yourself while he was gone. my friends are strong!


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