Government Shutdown

Government shutdown…the damn government has shutdown.  What in the hell is wrong with these people?  It’s like a bunch of kids fighting over the same damn crayon!  And, from my understanding, the president refuses to work with them.  No talking, no negotiating, no working things out together…really?!?

There are a few things that have come to a halt since the shutdown that don’t make much sense to me…well, none of the shit closed down and stopped makes sense to me.  But there are a few that have rubbed me the wrong way.

Call centers, hotlines and regional offices that aid our Veterans in understanding and dealing with their benefits have closed.  Our Veterans fought and sacrificed for this country and some of those sacrifices would make the average citizen shit their pants.  Their compensation, pension and education has been brought to a halt as well, from what I hear.  Is this how our government should treat the ones who gave their all for this country???

National parks, memorials and museums have closed.  This is just another form of a man “pitchin’ a fit” and throwin’ a damn tantrum.  These closings do nothing to help the debt issues in this country, in my opinion.

Small business loans have been stopped.  Small businesses and business owners are already suffering due to this economy and the Obamacare crap and now they can’t do what they need to stay afloat???  Small business owners are being punished for no reason.  Say what you want, but these people help shape us and remain a solid backbone for our country.

Research for life-threatening diseases has stopped too.  Seriously???  Due to a group of people who can’t sit and talk things out like adults and one man who refuses to help, we have to put research like this on hold?  There are several researchers studying things like sexual arousal in anesthetized female rats (at Dartmouth college) and developing a video game that simulates a high school prom (half-million dollar grant for this one!)  Are you kidding me?  Where are the priorities???

Certain kinds of work have come to a halt that protect all of us…things like child public safety and the safety of hazardous waste facilities.  EPA hasn’t been doing any “non-essential” inspections of chemical places or drinking water systems.  Why does this country jump to help and give financial aid to other countries, yet refuses to take care of its own citizens?

Federal employees have been put on furlough that help fight terrorism, defend our borders, inspect our food and watch our skies.  What the hell?  I am so damn disappointed!  It is sad to have leaders and lawmakers acting like little spoiled brats!

The death benefits for military families have been cut off.  This includes the monetary benefits and basic housing allowance.  Four soldiers killed in Afghanistan last week are the first this happened to.  Let me repeat that one more time…FOUR SOLDIERS KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN LAST WEEK…defending this country, paying the ULTIMATE PRICE, leaving behind grieving families….And get this shit, their families can meet the plane at Dover Air Force Base but must pay their own way to get there!  Seriously?!?  Their names are…Sgt. Patrick C. Hawkins, 25; Pfc. Cody J. Patterson, 24; Sgt. Joseph M. Peters, 24; and First Lt. Jennifer M. Moreno, 25.  Read the article for yourself, if you want.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/us/politics/shutdown-holds-up-death-benefits-for-military-families.html?_r=1&

WIC has stopped issuing benefits.  That is almost 9 million moms, infants and toddlers suffering.  Formula and healthy food should be a major priority for new moms and their babies.  Yes, I am well aware that some people abuse this program and many other programs out there…but can we please think for one minute about the people this programs helps?  These are babies!  How many people have to suffer due to our “government” squabbling and not working together?

And it may not matter to most, but commissaries were closed as well.  I don’t know why people think the military make mega bucks, but let me tell ya something…they don’t.  Lots of families depend on the commissary for their family’s groceries.  Some families have only one car or have to car pool.  So, the commissaries shutting down did hurt a lot of families.  I would like to thank Sam’s Club for waiving membership fees for the military through this ridiculous shutdown.  Sam’s Club has really stepped up and extended a helping hand.

Well, there you have it.  I apologize for this being a little long, but I really think these could have been avoided.  We are hurting, as a nation.  We are turning a blind eye to what’s going on around us.  We are bowing down and accepting shitty treatment for no reason.  We can do better than this.

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Deployment…what to say to and/or do for your soldier

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about deployments lately.  What to say or do for the soldier before he leaves seems to be two most asked questions.  So here goes…

What to do for your soldier before he deploys?….Look, the best way to approach this is to try to put yourself in his shoes.  Look at where he is headed, how his life will change, the “normal” things he won’t have access to anymore, the environment, not seeing you or any other family members for a long time…..the list goes on and on.  He won’t be able to come home and take his boots off.  He doesn’t get a cold beer in the evenings.  He may have a can of coca cola but no ice.  He probably has to walk a little ways to get to the bathroom, not to mention in complete uniform no matter what time of day it is.  No comforts that we take for granted…no heating and air control, no comfy bed, lousy food, no long hot showers, etc.  So, what do you do for him before he deploys???  Make him as comfortable as possible.  If he wants to spend the weekend kicked back watching movies and taking naps, tell him to go for it!  Eat out at his favorite places.  Go on little weekend trips.  Take tons of pictures!  Have cookouts on the weekends too so him and his buddies can sit back and relax.  Keep in mind that this is no time to be selfish.  He won’t have all these freedoms for a year.  You will.

What to say to him?…My best advice to is to reassure him that you love him.  Tell him that you will be thinking of him each and everyday.  Make plans to send him care packages full of goodies.  Let him know you will be right here when he gets back.  Don’t talk about the dangers he will face.  Don’t dwell on the time apart.  He probably won’t want to talk about those things.  If he wants to talk about that stuff he will, but don’t force it.  Write a letter and sneak it in his bag too.  And make sure to write letters during the deployment too.  A handwritten letter holds a lot more than a phone call.  Reassure him that you and the family will be ok.  It’s important that he not worry about his home and family while he’s gone.  He’s gonna have so much on his mind and will need to stay focused.

All in all, just live in the moment.  Have fun.  Don’t stress too much (I know that’s hard as hell to do).  This is his job.  Deployments are rough but they do end.  Tell him how you feel and let him know how important he is.  Take the time to send him things that remind him of home.  Don’t bog him down with drama from home.  He calls or gets online to escape the deployment.  Those few minutes of a phone call or online chat are his little vacations.  Make him laugh and reassure him that things are alright.

Adjusting to new routine after deployment

The adjustment can be smooth and easy or difficult and stressful.  Try to keep in mind, even though you have been dealing with the ups and downs back home, that your soldier has been deployed for a year or more.  Understand that the things we tend to take for granted are the very “luxuries” he has been completely without.  You have been able to get up and walk ten feet to the bathroom…he has had to make sure he was in full uniform and I can’t imagine how far some had to walk to get to a porta potty.  You could fix something to drink, anything you want, with ice!  He hasn’t been able to have a glass of coca-cola with ice in a really long time!  Those simple things make a big difference.  And on top of not having those things, he has been in a war zone…aka HELL!  Please, please try not to expect so much!

Here are a few tid bits of advice for the soldiers via Military.com

Make time for your family. Hold off on visits to relatives and limit time with friends until you’ve settled into a comfortable routine at home.  Take time to talk with your spouse or partner. After a long absence, you need to get to know each other again. You’ve both had new experiences that may have changed your priorities and your ideas about roles in the marriage and the family. Talking now can help you lay the foundation for a newly strengthened relationship.  Take time to understand how the family has changed while you’ve been gone. Don’t charge in with your own way of getting things done. Notice how your spouse is dealing with your children’s discipline, for example, and restrain yourself from taking over with a tougher or looser approach.  Spend time alone with each member of your family. Think of things to do with your children that you each enjoy and that will give you time to talk and have fun together in a relaxed way.

Don’t leave to visit relatives right away.  You, as a family, need to spend alone time together.  It is good for the soldier to be able to spend time with his kid(s).  This alone time means so much to both.  Your husband will need this time to adjust, to get to know his child(ren)’s new interests, to talk with you, and to sit back and relax.  Visiting relatives and friends should come at a later date.  Taking time to talk with your husband is very important.  My advice…do not ask so many questions.  He will tell you whatever he needs to when he is comfortable.  Overwhelming him with questions may seem more like an interrogation.

Allow time for rest and relaxation.  Plans and vacation time will come!  Making immediate plans is very stressful and doesn’t allow for any “down-time”.  Now I know you may be saying to yourself, “Where the hell is my down-time?”.  But we are the wives and our job is to be the glue that holds it all together.  Your relaxing time will come soon.  Before you and your husband plan to visit relatives, try to take a night or two for yourselves, if you can.

Continue doing your normal routine when it comes to household work.  Don’t expect him to immediately take out the trash, deal with the upkeep of the pets, household projects, etc.  Some husbands want to immediately do these things and some don’t.  Pay attention to him and talk.  Patience and good communication are the key!

His sleep pattern and schedule may be totally off also.  Let him sleep late, go to bed early, or both.

I want to mention PTSD as well.  PTSD can be easy to spot or very well camouflaged.  Pay attention to his temperament.  Watch his moods and see how he handles the new routine.  If you feel there is an issue, discuss it with him.  Like I said earlier, communication is the key.  There are also people you can call for help.  Visiting your soldier support center on post is a good place to start.  They have several informational packets that can help you as well as numbers to call for assistance.

With all that said, try to enjoy your time once he comes home!!!  Relax, have fun, cook together, have a drink or two, dance in the kitchen, etc!!! Decorate the house with lots of ribbon, flags and a banner.  Let the kids make “daddy signs” and hang them on the walls!