Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Even though I have been on a countdown since 21 January (hence the name of the blog), I have not been physically crossing days off of a calendar or ripping dated pages from a stack on my desk. I've just been sort of keeping track in the back of my mind. One month down...11 to go. Or 2 more months until we are at the halfway point. 

Except that we don't exactly know when "halfway" is. Which is different from every other deployment. Because we don't know for sure that the Iraqi government is going to stick to a 31 December deadline and we don't know for sure if the U.S. will send troops home from Iraq or just shift them over to Kuwait, we don't really know how long the deployment will last. Probably less than the typical 400 days. But how much less? There's no telling...which, admittedly, at times makes me want to sit on the kitchen floor and bang my head with a ladle. But as Army Dad has taught me, I hope for the best, but expect the worst. 

The best possible outcome would be a November Homecoming. It would be about 6 weeks after I last saw Neal in Paris and just enough time to scoot back to the house, deep clean it, and prepare a week's worth of meals like I had been cooking for the past year (and not, as he probably suspects, playing Wheel of Restaurants for 10 months). Worst case? February. Which would be a 400-day deployment and, unless he was stop-lossed, the longest his tour could possibly be. And if you believe everything the government tells you, stop-loss no longer occurs.

Either way, we crossed the half-way point on July 21. I was knee-deep in townhouse brick on the 21st and completely missed the significance. And now I'm on the downhill slide. 

When I sat down this afternoon and realized how close to November we actually are (and if you haven't noticed that the end of the year is justaroundthecorner, then head to a craft store where Christmas has thrown up in at least 5 aisles), I started to think about my Deployment To-Do List (and consequently, the fact that I had never quite gotten around to blogging the list). 

Janet over at We Four Explorers has just seen her husband off for another year-long deployment and decided to create a list of books that she would like to read in his absence. We are all in agreement that compiling any sort of list will help the time pass. Putting your time and energy into checking things off will make the time at least march, if not fly. 

So, here is my list of what I wanted to accomplish this year. I have about 4 months to finish it up. And if there are items left uncrossed? Well, that's OK too. I didn't get around to learning how to pair food and wine last deployment, but Neal and I are enjoying that to-do together. 

  • Fix the townhouse brick - whatever that means. (at the sake of my sanity, but whatever. It's done.)
  • Re-learn French
  • Cook a whole chicken (unless there is removal of innerds involved. Then I'm out.)
  • Blog about the deployment
  • Get those last 25 lbs off my ever-expanding ass (14 down...9 to go)
  • Try the Paleo Diet for at least 6 months (off and on for 6 months now and really love it. Especially the "on" part.)
  • Workout everyday (or at least 5 days/week) (or at least 2 days/week...or at least twice a month. Quit judging me.)
  • Read The Hunger Games series
  • Launch the business website
  • Get the business logo redesigned
  • Spend a week in NYC 
  • Create a line of jewelry from upcycled materials (read: yard sale mania every Saturday)
  • Master my sangria recipe (I know, disappointing. You'd think this would be the first item I tackled.)
  • Keep a plant alive for more than a month (related: thank God for the hardiness of rosemary.)
  • Check out the historic homes in Macon
  • Go to the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings
  • Plan a romantic and uberly awesome R&R with Captain Handsome
  • Practice my grill skillz
  • Visit friends in Chicago
  • Decorate the guest bathroom in KY with sweet little photos from NYC
  • Finish the wedding scrapbook
  • Find a church
  • Read the growing stack of non-Nook books...including Paula Deen's autobiography and Jen Lancaster's new one and Kartography
  • Watch "Castle" from start to finish
  • Watch "Grey's Anatomy" from start to finish (I'm a little over half way. I really should not have waited until like season 7 to start).
  • Learn how to make my own mayonnaise 
  • Go through my digital photos and delete the ones I don't want to keep forever and ever
  • Create some sort of water concoction that I won't mind drinking instead of diet soda when I'm pregnant 
  • Make a huge stack of greeting cards so that I can stop buying them all the time 
And that's where I left off. Some...like the 30 episodes of "Castle" and blogging about the deployment, have gone fairly smoothly...while finding a church (which is particularly difficult when each one is compared to the church I grew up in) and learning how to make mayonnaise (which I tried once and was disastrous) has proven more difficult. But I've made a fairly decent dent in my list and must credit that with completely missing my halfway point celebration.


  1. OMG!!!!! I cannot even tell you how perfect the timing is on this exact post! This past Sat morning at 4:45 AM as I gathered my things to head out for my triathlon, I had a complete and total emotional meltdown, we are talking red alert! And a lot of it had to do with this exact thing, this whole ENTIRE year I had to get all these things done and I accomplished nothing and felt like I wasted it, and failed at all things in life, and I was a mess. Haha. Its funny now, its ok to laugh. ;) What is so frustrating is my hubs heads home in 20 days....TWENTY D-A-Y-S!! Why cant I just be happy and excited?! Why all the worry about all that I didnt get done on my "list"?? Why are we so hard on ourselves?? Haa!

  2. I was humming along, nodding my head to your list. Yup, yup, great idea, she'll master the sangria before October, love Castle. Then I got to make your own mayo. Classic example of "To each their own" I guess :)

    You're doing a great job though! Hunger Games will be uber easy to get through.

  3. Am totally impressed at what you have gotten done, and what is started. You are doing great! I have a little trouble with "spend a week in NYC"... THAT does not seem like such a "task"! Glad R&R is coming soon.

  4. The first half is the hardest, right? The next few months will be a breeze.
    Great list - though now that you've crossed Castle off, you should tack "watch Firefly" onto the end.
    That'll be as easy as reading the Hunger Games series!
    Wait...you haven't read the Hunger Games series yet???
    And I can't even speak to the fact that your sangria recipe is left unmastered. Who are you?

  5. Sounds like you have made some serious progress!! I'm off to email you now! :D

  6. It really is hard to believe that so much of his time away is already behind you now. That has to feel so darn good!!!!

    He better not get stop-lossed!

  7. I love the absolutely bizarre variety of things on your list. =) I feel like I just in general need one of these for my life!

    And yaaaaaayyyy halfway point passed!

  8. Wow you've actually made a real life list of things to do?!

    I write the odd list here and there but nothing like that. I love that you have "make a whole chicken" and "re-learn french" on the same list. So random.

    You've done well getting through what you have :D

  9. Skip the mayo. If you ever make your own mayo, you'll be so disgusted that you'll never eat it again. It's gross to think about in it's raw form.

    And Hunger Games...read it. Like today. You'll get through it quickly because it's almost impossible to put down. I stayed on the bus today an extra stop so I could keep reading.

    I can't believe it's already August. In February, August seemed really far away. Time flies...

  10. Absolutely a great post! I love lists. I love it when I can check off all my items. Yeah for you. Sometimes the list is the hardest part. I think you've done amazingly and you have certainly entertained me this entire time so that really should have been a part of your list as well. :) Love you sweet girl. Can't wait to hear all about Paris and see pictures (lots of pictures please)...

  11. This is an awesome list and think it's so awesome you're taking time to focus on doing things that are beneficial to you in this time that Neal is away. And you should be so proud of the many things you have crossed off. Also? 14 lbs? GO YOU!!!! That is amazing, girl!


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