Monday, December 29, 2008

And they're OFF.....

Joe and I enjoyed quite a bit of skype time in Gib. He had already been there in 2004 and had no interest in going out and seeing much. This worked out well for me who had a lot of interest in talking to him.

Christmas was difficult. I know it's just a day-but it was difficult to not be able to share it with him. His stocking is still hung up in our living room waiting for him to plow through it when he gets home.

I'm ready for him to be home. I wasn't always ready for him to get back here either. I had my own agendas and things I had planned to complete during deployment. But I'm ready now. My heart aches for him all day. Just to touch him. To cuddle. To feel loved. It's not easy to keep the home fires burning. To plan our BBT trip* to Rome this Spring. To giggle. To laugh. To hear him yell..where is my liddle monkey? Or...when I try to wake him up...to hear him say- liddle monkeys should be sleeping. Just to laugh again. To truly be happy.

Whew!
Lots of love to all the wives who tend to the fires- It's exhausting.

Almost done! Almost done!
Whew!
Samantha:)
BBT trip = Before Baby Trip

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The little monkey~




I opened Joe's Christmas gift to me that he left with my parents this evening!
It said - To my little monkey ( that's me )

What do you think?

Gibraltar





Here's my baby in Gibraltar. The top picture is my holiday kisses!

He's eating with a military family there on Christmas. I hate that we are apart but SO glad he's with family!

Happy Christmas EVE!

xoxo
LaCouture family

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best ornament of '08



Some friends of mine over at the submarinewivesclub.org (who clearly had the same thoughts on the election as Joe and I) found this ornament to proudly hang on their Christmas Tree. I find it quite amusing and wanted to share.


Got to skype with hubby today. I'll post pictures tomorrow!

xoxo
Samantha

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Toooooo much snow!

One of the last pieces of advice I got from Joe before he left- Don't worry about the snow baby- It almost never snows in December.

Thanks Joe. Great advice.

I did find the shovel in the garage behind like twenty million things. I do have amazing neighbors-who plowed out the driveway. I only had to worry about the walkway and the roof(the last flat roof we are trying to save until the Spring). Shoveling a roof- not so fun. A bit scary too!

Last night I opened another card from Joe. I have two left now. I should have more-but sometimes I can't help myself and open more then I should in one week. Anyway-it was super cute and labeled "funny" rather then "mushy" so I will share:

Everytime my mind wanders....it keeps bumping into YOU! Everytime I see something that reminds me of you..I think about bring home and how much I miss you and how much I want to be with you. It's the little things that make me home sick like wanting to cook a meal or go for a ride... oh and the bumping thing...while we're bumping we should do some (ok, I have to censor the end...but you get the drift)-haha!

Quick shout out to Stephanie and Becky for helping me cut out submarines for hours last evening. Yep! True meaning of friendship is now extended to ... people who help you move AND cut out submarines with you.

xoxo
Samantha

Thursday, December 18, 2008

December Cal. Square!



This is Joe's last calendar square of the trip! It was one of my favorite ones!

Not a whole lot going on. Joe was in Turkey the last few days. It was great to hear his voice. He's getting to visit some great places on this trip. I'm really missing normal things- like time together in the morning and stuff like that.

Gosh, winter is depressing!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mid-December!

Well.. We're chugging along-YAY!

December is okay... I guess!

It's been very rainy! I could do without the rain-but I guess it's better then snow! or ice...or hail...I'm trying to look on the bright side!

The Family Support Group Holiday party was last night. It was nicely done. We had some great baskets for raffle and a fun candle exchange! It was great to see everyone and do a little celebrating. It's always great to feel the support and energy of the other wives/significant others going through the exact same thing as you! I still think that they only TRULY understand your feelings/emotions. Steph came after for a snack and some Grey's Anatomy. Good times!

I still give the holidays without the hubby two thumbs down but... I can do this... I can do this... we can DO this!

xoxox
Samantha

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Joy Of Being

The Joy Of Being
Celebrating The In-Between Times

I have no idea why it won't post normally. When I copy it- It has all these spaces. Sorry! But it is a must read!

While celebrations are intended to honor life’s more momentous occasions, much
of real life tends to happen during the in-between times. While moving from one
moment in time to the next is seldom considered a significant occurrence, it is
during those in-between times that we are most in tune with life’s most
profound, albeit simple joys. Between birth and death, triumph and sorrow,
beginnings and endings, we enjoy innumerable experiences that often happen
unnoticed. These times are just as worthy of celebration.

The in-between times are seldom about landmark moments. How you choose to
celebrate them or which moments you choose to celebrate is up to you. You may
want to celebrate the simple facts that you are alive and that every day is a
chance to spend time with the people you care about or do the work that you
love. Then again, when you look at the good that exists in your life, many
reasons for celebrating the in-between times may become clear: a cup of your
favorite tea, a beautiful sunrise, a good book, and the smell of fresh air can
be reasons for celebration.

Celebrating the in-between times can be as easy as paying special attention to
them when they do happen, rather than taking them for granted. It’s your focus
of attention that can turn an in-between time into a celebration. You can also
pay homage to the in-between times by slowing down and allowing yourself time to
look around and allow your heart and mind to take in all of your life’s wonders.
Far too often, we can let those simple moments of awe pass us by. The in-between
times are when life happens to us between the pauses that we take to honor our
milestones occasions. Without the in-between times, there would be no big
moments to celebrate.

Monday, December 8, 2008

MIC inspiration

Just got back from an amazing weekend with some of the worlds most inspirational people. Even though we all see each other two times a year..It's still such a pleasure to be in everyones company.

Making-It-Count(My job) has training on the fall and spring programs that we present in High Schools. You have to go to the training to certify on the programs every year. I certified on both(yay!) and am pumped to start my semester off. The trainings(although long and at times stressful) are such a big motivater for upcoming speaking engagements but mostly just for life in general.

It's truly great to be surrounded by such amazing people all weekend.

Toasting to all the MIC speakers who are making a difference in High Schools across the country on a daily basis.

Feeling involved and inspired,

xoxo-Samantha

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December is here!

December is here.....

Which normally means all sorts of great things like Christmas lights, warm fires, decorating our Christmas tree, the Quaker Hill tree lightings, stockings, A Christmas Carol in Providence... I could go on- but really, why depress myself further.

This year it just means Christmas cards(which I have already sent) for me. I can't even enjoy the lights people are putting up- I'm too sad that Joe's not here to enjoy them too.

December does mean MIC training for this upcoming speaker semester is THIS weekend. I'm psyched! I hate training/certification -because I get so nervous/stressed out- but I am hoping that the cheerful, uplifting best motivational speakers in the country ( who will all be there ) can lift my spirits this weekend or at least get my mind off of my own misery. Hoping to reconnect with some old friends that I missed at the last training/certification weekend (which only had 9 veteran speakers at-lucky for me my buddy Cortez was there!) because I was at the 2nd training due to a wedding that I was in.

Happy December (sort of)
Samantha

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

God Bless those who are serving our country and can't be with their families! Pray for their safe return home!

xoxo
Samantha

Monday, November 24, 2008

Christmas Tea

Trying to get in the holiday spirit and TOTALLY not feeling it. Miss Hope had this Tea on her blog- and it just sounded so holidayish and wonderful- That I had to pass it on to you:

Christmas Tea

2 large tea bags
1 small can frozen orange juice
1 small can frozen lemonade
1 large can (46 ounce) Pineapple Juice
2 1/2 cups sugar
24 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon

In a large pot add tea bags in about 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil, then let set for a few minutes. Remove tea bags. Add Pineapple, Lemon, and Orange Juices, sugar, cloves, and cinnamon, then add enough water to make 6 quarts. Let come to a boil then simmer. Serve hot. Flavor increases as tea ages. Store in refrigerator.

Note: this can be made in a Crock pot to.

5 things I am thankful for TODAY:

1. That my husband stacked all the wood before he left.
2. That you can watch TV on the net-since we don't have cable!
3. That people think our Turkey Day postcards are cute!
4. Over an hour conversation with Joe today.
5. "Nanna" bread that I made - all by myself - THAT CAME OUT GOOD!


xoxo
Samantha

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bahrain Part 3

Just a quick note to say that Joe is safely in Bahrain. They(the guys) are calling it Bahrain Part 3 because it's the third time they have been there on this deployment. I'm assuming it's cheap and easy to pull into there or something.

Anyway:

I'm doing OK. Haven't managed to sleep very much yet. I'm just feeling weird about him not being here. I'm getting over it(mostly because I have no other choice).

Stephanie came by to cheer me up a bit last night. That was helpful and together we got the wood stove going! Go us!

I'm trying to stay super busy. I'm excited about Thanksgiving at my mom's. I'm getting ready to go off to training for speaking during the Spring Semester next weekend.

That's all for now!
Samantha

Friday, November 21, 2008

...and then gone

One second he was here:

his dirty laundry piled up... on the floor(not the hamper)
the wood stove was used every night
his shaving cream cap was next to the sink (instead of on the can)
he honk shooed all night ( his sleeping noise )
his warm sweaty body wrapped around me until the wee hours of the morning
he left dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher
he insisted on our reading rituals.....

The next minute...He's gone.

We get a dreaded call that he won't be returning to the boat the second week of December as planned.. but in less then 24 hours. Something major is broke and Mr. Chiefness Joe must help to fix it.

I'm not one to complain.. because the circumstances surrounding him being home were sucky at best and completely unexpected. A sucky treat- does that make sense?.....but our leave papers said the 24th. He even had a job set up on base until he was supposed to return to the stupid deployed boat. I'm whining. I know. But...well I can't help it. I'm a planner. I needed time to plan for him to leave. I wasn't ready because I didn't have enough time. So I'm a mess.

I'm so so sad. Worse then when he left the first time. I can't stop crying. or whining. But mostly- crying.

*sigh* I need this time to fly.
I'm so over this.

xoxo
Samantha

Monday, November 17, 2008

Back in CT

Hello there!

Thank-you to everyone for all of the love and support these last two weeks. We have appreciated it. We are back in CT adjusting to the little time we have together and trying to move forward and heal.

Joe's mom sent us this OM this evening- We loved it so much we thought we would post:

Beings of Light
Human Angels

During each of our journeys, there are those inevitable moments when someone
comes into our life at precisely the right time and says or does precisely the
right thing. Their words or actions may help us perceive ourselves more clearly,
remind us that everything will turn out for the best, help us cope, or see us
through difficult situations. These people are human angels – individuals
designated by the universe to be of service to those in need at specific points
in time. Some human angels make a commitment before their births to make a
positive contribution to the world at a particular moment. Others were chosen by
the universe. All human angels, however, come into our lives when we least
expect them and when we can most benefit from their presence.

A few of the human angels we may encounter are in professions where helping
others is an everyday occurrence. But most of them are regular people, going
about their daily lives until called upon to be in the right place at the right
time to bring peace, joy, help, or heal someone when they most need it. You may
have met a human angel in the form of a teacher who gave you a piece of advice
that touched your soul and influenced your path. The person that momentarily
stopped you to say hello on the street, delaying you long enough to avoid an
oncoming car or a collision, is also a human angel. They may offer nothing more
than a kind word or a smile, but they will offer it when you can draw the most
strength and support from their simple action.

You may be a human angel yet not know it. Your fate or intuition may guide you
toward other people’s challenging or distressing situations, leading you to
infer that you simply have bad luck. But recognizing yourself as a human angel
can help you deal with the pain you see and understand that you are there to
help and comfort others during their times of need. Human angels give of their
inner light to all who need it, coming into our lives and often changing us
forever. Their task has its challenges, but it is they that have the power to
teach, bring us joy, and comfort us in times of despair.


Love
Joe and Samantha

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Celebration of life!



Celebration of his life- RIP 11/4/08

Services: Auburn, Maine - Dignity

Thank-you for all of the kind words, prayers and support.

Joey is will be coming home to be with his family.

We have an amazing command to thank for that. We are lucky to be blessed with a fantastic squadron who worked around the clock to get his travel arrangements squared away. I'm also thankful for a family-orientated Captain and COB. We will never forget what our submarine family did for our family.

I rec' email from Joe after the Captain told him the bad news. I'm anxious to get him in my arms. I'm ready to help him heal. I've been there ( RIP Daddy 7/9/04 ). I know what it's like to feel fine one minute and lose it the next. I know that you expect to hear their voice every day. I can help with the daily struggles.

This journey (at times) has been difficult for me because it's like reliving my own dads battle with cancer. My husband is a pretty amazing guy. Joe's email ended with- "I love you and I know we can get through anything." Although this is about his healing. It's about loving him, nurturing him, caring for him. He doesn't forget. And I am reminded how amazing he is. He knew before I said a word that this would be hard for me too. That my heart hurts. That this forces me to remember. It doesn't allow me my compartments where I place things when I can't deal. My heart aches more now then it did back them...when it was just for me.

It doesn't just ache for him, but for his family too. Because...this sucks. And it's so unfair. 5 kids. He won't get to see four of them marry their soul mate. He won't get to say.."you've done good" on their wedding day like he did for Joey. One of both our prized memories of the day. He won't meet his grand kids. We'll never have our Harleys together again. He won't see Riley graduate High School. He didn't get to see Joey get off the boat as a Chief Petty Officer. And it's not so bad for him- because he does get to SEE it. But it's the experience for all of them.

My heart.... just hurts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

RIP Dad Thrasher


Joe's dad lost his battle with cancer this evening. It was a bit unexpected for us. We knew it was a possibility. We thought we had more time.

I guess you always think you have more time.

Please- send prayers to our family. I have sent an AM CROSS for Joey. We're going to do everything we can to bring him home to grieve with his family instead of alone on a cold submarine.

I will update when I have more information.

For now- I wait in hopes that they will figure out a way for Joe to call. or email. In hopes that the call/email is news of him being able to come home for the services and much needed family time.

And you should... call your parents, kids, siblings, friends. Tell them you love them. We never know...when time is up.

RIP Dad Thrasher- You were loved very much.

**11/5/08 update : Squadron has contacted me and has sent the message to the boat. We should know soon if Joey will be able to come home.

**11/5/08 update: Red Cross has contacted me to let me know the boat has rec' the message and sends their condolescences to the family. She said that it said travel arrangements pending but that she couldn't confirm if that meant he was 100% going to be able to come home.

**11/5/08 afternoon update: Thank GOD for our command! They are getting him home. With the traveling and time difference we've had to push back the wake and funeral but I am just so glad that he will get to be here surrounded by his family.

Thank-you for all the love and support. My husband is coming home.

Monday, November 3, 2008

November Cal Square



November Calendar Square
So, I counted wrong. Or something.
And ...since he left- he decided he doesn't want to go anywhere. He just wants to be home or maybe a bed and breakfast. Whatever we do... has to be completely low key.

Oh- and recently in an email I asked for a list of things he wants when he gets home. I told him the list could be anything...from new white shirts to favorite snacks.

His reply came yesterday: "I cant wait to get to hold you again, I really don't want anything else."

Ah.. I do love that man. More then I could ever explain to anyone.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

November is here!

YAY! New month. Progess. Slow..(or it feels slow) but STEADY.
Whew!

Joe is starting to show more serious signs of being home sick. This just means he is actually sharing(monumental event) with me that he's ready to be home. His last email said he wanted to come home and be spoiled. I told him if he starts swimming, I'll be ready when he gets here. My heart hurts for him.

They watched the 1/2 way video we sent for them on Halloween. They raised a lot of money for our Christmas party(which we will be having super late-but still having!)and he passed out the Halloween bags that I sent to him, my single sailors, Eric and Tony and the Chiefs Quarters. He said it was fun passing them out and that they figured out quickly(Thank you Shawn Sharpe) that if you squeezed the goey eyes HARD enough the slime would gush out. Gotta love boys! Anyway it was fun making them, knowing they would be enjoyed by all. I sent off the Christmas ones yesterday.

Spent a great SAT with my parents. And I'm enjoying having a lot of girl time planned with some of my favorite people this week. Movie/Pizze night with Becca and Noah tomorrow. A night at J's with Sue on Tuesday. And some of my favorite people will be at my place on Sat afternoon. I will make this time go by. I will make this time go by. If I repeat that... I feel better.

I will make this time go by.

Don't forget to vote on the 4th everyone.
This election is HUGE!

xoxo
Samantha

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCain/Palin 08 THE real change we need!



I am Joe too. Who are you?



YOUR CHOICE: A smooth talking politician with no experience whatsoever, or a dedicated war hero with years of valuable experience. McCain Palin '08. The REAL change we need.




“Behind the fancy speeches, grand promises and TV special, lies the truth, With crises at home and abroad, Barack Obama lacks the experience America needs. And it shows. His response to our economic crisis is to spend and tax our economy deeper into recession. The fact is Barack Obama’s not ready yet.”

McCain/Palin 08

The military vote could be a difference maker in several traditionally Republican states where Obama is trying to pull off upsets, including North Carolina and Virginia.

We need everyone to vote!

Box from Bahrain!


Shaking hands with the Captain


New Cover!


Getting Pinned!

My box from Bahrain has arrived! Pinning pictures and the video of the actual pinning came with it. I watched the video. Cried. Uploaded pictures. Watched the video. Cried.

I'm so proud! He's so handsome! And look at that new uniform!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Joe's Calendar Square for Oct!~




Here was Joe's Calendar Square today!
Time is going.... YAY

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Really cool stuff....

So there is this awesome gal- her name is Becca.
She makes incredible things!
One of her newer items that I just LOVE are her Crests!

The crests are hand drawn and painted using India ink and watercolor on watercolor paper. They look amazing framed! We'll figure out what elements you'd like (names, dates, pictures, colors) and whip up a whimsically "official" family crest. There are other options,too. The crest could be a sweet, personalized birth announcement for a baby's room, a wonderful gift for a child's room, wedding present for newlyeds... the sky is the limit.

The best part? She's having a little giveaway foe on on her blog.
You must enter!

Go here : http://www.shaywilliams.blogspot.com/
And post a comment about good ideas for your own family crest (You can see examples on her site!)

She will choose a winner randomly on Monday November 3rd.

Good Luck!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And they're.... off!

They are gone again!
Two thumbs down!

I *do* try to remember the quicker they...go... the quicker they come home! Even though it seems like that is SO far off- I know it's closer and closer every time I lay my head on the pillow.

Joey and I really made some progress during this particular port with communicating. I think I have mentioned a few times(ha-ha) how difficult it can be to communicate ANYTHING during deployment. There is so much unknown to both parties. So many hidden feelings(they have to hide them to do their job well). So many hurt feelings(why don't you ACT like you miss me - stuff). It's just difficult for everyone involved. No one suffers more, everyone suffers differently. It's a lot of work to keep everyone happy. We ended this port on a good note. No sobbing goodbye. No yelling. No angry feelings. Just some kissy faces and waves. The way Joey and Samantha always act. Goofy.

It's hard but it will all be worth it when I can touch him. He has a lot of concerns about re-adjusting when he gets home. I don't share those same concerns but I was glad he expressed them to me while we were on the phone. It's interesting to hear about what he worries about. We seem to worry about completely different things.

For now I am staying excited since I am waiting for cards and a box from Bahrain. It is keeping my mind off the time dragging which is a good thing! Oh- and I'm having fun designing our Thanksgiving card with Mary! Keep an eye out for it!

xoxo
Samantha

Monday, October 20, 2008

Last skype session in Bahrain!





The pictures above are from our last skype session in Bahrain-
Fantasic way to end the port- He spent the better part of a day skyping with me. Just what I needed to get my over the 1/2 way hump and ready to finish this DEPLOYMENT!

xoxo
Samantha

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Oh the Sun in Bahrain

Well here I sit in the sunny and not as hot as last time Bahrain, Sam commented that I have no concept of time and in an effort to do better I am waiting until at least 6 am there to call. I mean not that she would ever wake me up every morning at the crack of dawn with that cute little prairie dog face she makes when ever she thinks I am awake. I am trying to be nice, mostly so that when I get home and want to sleep in I can bring this fact up.

The time in port goes way toooo quick there has been a lot of work to do and not as much time to talk to Sam as I would have liked. That being said I have had a chance to talk to her a lot more then last time and that was good. So we are more then 1/2 way done. I am very happy about that. I am not going to lie and say I am not home sick, I very much am. It's great to have the support from home, Sam is great about sending me things and all the cards and notes I get make this the best that it could be. Also knowing that there are lots of people to take care of her while I am gone has been a big help, I know she has been in need of that help a few times. Thank you for all the help Ray and Cindy. It means a lot to have a great support system in place for her. And you guys send great care packages.

I also want to thank all the people who have sent me cards, Steve and Becky thank you for the note, it was very nice, cant wait to see the band again. Shawn and Becky thank you, Aaron is no longer here but its still a strange coincidence. Robin and Greg, thank you for all the nice cards. Steve and Gail thank you very much for the gift it means a lot. Also Jeannie and Ken, Pete and Sue, The Laurie family, Becky Butler...and many more-the cards are great. Keep them coming. I will be very glad to get home and have some time there and I look forward to seeing everyone when I get home until then, thank you again for all you do, you are in my thoughts.

Joe

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Excited!

I'm very excited about today. It's our(wives and moms) 1/2 way celebration. Woo-Woo! I was actually the committee chair on this event and am so excited it's finally here. My committee spent the entire night last night making three tier star cakes and raffle baskets. We have worked so hard to make this night super special and I'm glad it's finally here. AND most importantly I can't wait to see the video they made for us. Joey said he has a beard in it.

I also got woken up around 6:45AM by my husband. I was so shocked and happy. He has duty today- so it's a treat to get to talk on the phone. It was a good conversation. The first one that I felt happy when the conversation was over. It can be so difficult. Most conversations leave me wanting for more, More, MORE! I knew he had to specifically make time to call me and I know he took longer on the phone with me then he really had. And he told me he sent me some mail from Bahrain. YAY. I love mail. It was a perfect day/night to end the conversation well. It's such a celebration to be 1/2 way!

I'll feel lucky to be celebrating with all the wives from our boat and really special that my best friend Becky(there on Eric Doe's behalf) and my mother (the coolest M-I-L ever!)will be there. I couldn't have a better support team or a more dedicated husband. My husband is dedicated to trying to understand deployment from my point of view. Recently he said... " Is there something I could do to make it better for you?". I said that I couldn't think of anything- but what I was thinking is... You just made it better by saying that. At the end of the day- Joe's sacrifice is always the bigger one, the harder one... but it's nice to know he can see my sacrifice too.

xoxo
Samantha

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bahrain skyping





Smiles from Bahrain!

We finally got to skype with the cameras today! It was fantastic. Joe had the Chiefs champagne brunch this morning which is why he is wearing a dressy white shirt.

I can't believe how much easier it is to communicate when we can see each other. I finally got to see a few pictures from his pinning. He's sending me a box with his chief coins and a video that was taken during the ceremony. I can't wait to get the mail.

Life feels so much better now!
xoxo
Samantha

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Communication = Frustration

Gosh darn it's hard to communicate.
stupid phone calls
stupid phone calls that I waited and waited for....
why do we always screw them up...
can't sleep
can't stop thinking....

sigh

What I really meant to say is:

... I feel so stupid for missing you so much. I love you to pieces and wish you were home to make everything better. I'm sorry for not being perfect..but I'm trying really hard to make this easy on you. It's hard for me too. You might be home sick but I'm Joe sick. I love you so much it hurts and I can't wait for this stupid deployment to be over.

Concept of Time

My husband has no concept of time on that deployed submarine of his- THANK GOD!

My cell phone rang at 2:41AM. I almost killed myself getting up to get it. I reminded myself all the way there... It's not him, you have a whole another day until you get to hear his voice. Don't get excited. Don't get excited Samantha.

Sam: Hello?
Joe: Monkey!
Sam: Is everything okay? You're early!
Joe: Why do you ever listen to what squadron says?
Sam: Who else am I supposed to listen to?
Joe: I'm on someones cell phone. We just pulled in. It's $1.00 a minute on his cell phone but I wanted to tell you I love you and I will call you after work. What time is it there?
Sam: Almost 3am.
Joe: Oh. I'm sorry. It's 10am here.
Sam: It's okay. I'm glad you called. Still a working port?
Joe: Yes. But we'll talk. It's okay.
Sam: (little kid voice) Okay. but I miss you.
Joe: I miss you too monkey. I have to go. I love you
Sam: ok. I love you.

( or something similar )

I hope he calls me monkey even when we have a monkey of our own in the future.
It's very endearing. And wonderful.

So. Joe's in port. And he's is not a chief selectee anymore. This means there is no chief training- so we'll be able to talk every day hopefully.

I'm so excited and nervous ( I don't know why I get nervous we won't have anything to say or something- even though I have a list ).

OK, time to get off to work and cart the lap top with me- in case we can skype!

xoxo
Samantha

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Still under the sea!

Boys are still under the sea. I haven't heard Joey's voice since late August. Pretty crazy when you actually think about it. We have been able to communicate pretty frequently with each other over e-mail. Not the best form of communication, but better then nothing!

I got a sweet email ( Gosh, it's nice to feel appreciated every once in a while! ) when they celebrated being 1/2 through deployment. He enjoyed the 1/2 way bag I sent on with him. I put a bunch of boy stuff in there. Stupid stuff really. Wind up sushi things, Fake teeth, PSP games, drink mixes, beef jerky, magnetic games..etc etc. His favorite(or at least most talked about in email) was the fake teeth. The .25cent item! Anyway-I was glad he enjoyed his day of bag opening and hope he felt the love all the way over here...all the way under the ocean.

Now the question is- where is my 1/2 bag?
Oh, that's right...we only make them for them! I think that needs to change!

I AM looking forward to our 1/2 night celebration which is this coming weekend at Skippers Dock! Yippie! We will get to see the video messages they left for us. Almost better then a 1/2 way bag. Of course, we sent them a video too! Which Joe hasn't mentioned. Maybe I had spinach in my teeth or something?

Who knows!

xoxo
Samantha

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

RIP Robinson

Tragic.
Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers

Sailor Killed on Carrier Flight Deck
October 07, 2008
Virginian-Pilot

Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert Lemar Robinson died Saturday on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower after being struck by a plane during flight operations.

Navy officials released Robinson's name Monday but offered no details of the incident, which is under investigation.

Lt. Courtney Hillson, a spokeswoman for the Navy's 2nd Fleet, said Robinson was struck at 8:16 p.m. and was pronounced dead 16 minutes later. Robinson was 31. He is survived by his mother and three children, Hillson said.

A native of Detroit, Robinson joined the Navy in 1998 and was assigned to the Eisenhower in January. As an aviation boatswain's mate in the carrier's air department, he was responsible for handling and moving aircraft on the flight deck.

The Ike has been at sea since Sept. 16, conducting routine training operations. On Saturday, it was off the coast of North Carolina.

Flight operations ceased for a time after the incident, but planes resumed flying onto and off the carrier late Sunday morning, Hillson said. The carrier remains at sea and will hold a memorial service for Robinson on Wednesday.

The Navy often refers to a carrier's flight deck as one of the most dangerous places in the world. Catapults on the 4.5-acre steel deck can launch as many as four planes a minute, while arresting wires simultaneously recover incoming aircraft.

In July, Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel R. Verbeke, an aviation boatswain's mate, died from injuries he sustained on the deck of the carrier Theodore Roosevelt in 2005.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Submarine Blessing

Bless those who serve beneath the deep,
Through lonely hours their vigil keep
May peace their mission ever be,
Protect each one we ask of Thee.
Bless those at home who wait and pray
for their return by night and day.

Missing my husband.
Knowing he is safe...but longing for his touch.

Friday, October 3, 2008

It's finally FALL

I truly love Fall.

But... Gosh is the FALL kind of lonely.
The deployment has flown by pretty quickly. We're 1/2 through! I can tell that the 2nd half isn't going to go as fast as the first half did.

I'm supposed to be picking apples and watching the leaves turn colors with him. And although I enjoy hot chocolate and apple cider. It's not really the same unless he makes it. I think I can almost replicate his cocoa. I can't touch his apple cider. He's always so secretive when he's mulling it on the stove.

Renassiance Fairs go on when Joey's gone but I haven't found myself getting a group together to go to one like I thought I would. I know it would just make me sad. Joey and I act like kids at those things. We chomp on chicken legs, cheer on the jousts and dress up for the events. And I always end up leaving them with something I didn't need but Joe claims I have to have. He spoils me. When he's gone- it's the other way around. I spoil him. He's on a submarine under the sea and he already has the latest PSP game(God of War) waiting for him across the world for when he pulls up somewhere. Don't get me wrong- I enjoy spoiling him. It's just been so long since he's gotten that silly look on his face and tells some sales person.. " We'll take it " while I shake my head. He always finds it much more amusing if I completely disagree with the purchase. I'm not disillusioned to the fact that because we're not together he isn't buying things for me that I disapprove of. There has been more then one eye brown raise on my part back home when his deployment credit card statement has come in for me to pay.

I like watching the leaves turn all different colors. I just wish he was here to share it with. I really love fall. Things just aren't the same when your best friend is gone. I find myself looking over at a blank space in bed, in the car and even out in town when I have something silly to say. I try to find comfort in coming home to tell him in e-mail. It's not the same though.

Boo deployments!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Khaki Ball

Last night I attended the Khaki Ball in Joe's honor.

I understood this event to be a semi-formal night filled with dinner and dancing within the chief community. I had no idea how touched I would feel while I was there. And how sad that Joe was not able to have this experience.

This event is so much more then just a party. It is the night where newly pinned chiefs and their spouses are welcomed to the Chiefs mess. And boy was I welcomed. I was joined by 11 other wives from the USS Alexandria Goat Locker. Although sad that Joe couldn't be there, the ladies enjoyed making me feel special. We pointed out Joe's name in the program. They encouraged me to stand up when the new chiefs stood up. We took a group picture to send to the boat. We even got a compliment from the speaker of the evening on our support while our men are deployed. He explained how important it is for us to come to the Khaki ball to re-connect with the community and how glad he was that we were here in our husbands places to do so. He wished them well and sent his own "angels" to watch over them.

I was truly amazed at the "re-connected" I witnessed. Hand shakes, hugs and kisses were exchanged all night long. This was family. At points I felt like I was witnessing a big family reunion. And then I would remember that Joey and I are now part of this amazing group of people. Of History. Another family within our tight knit submarine family.

Does it get better then this?

So proud of my Chief. Can't wait to see him in Khaki.
Samantha

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

USS NEBRASKA

In the news yesterday:

USS Nebraska sailor dies following accident near Hawaii

Sep 22 2008 · UPDATED

A sailor aboard the nuclear-powered submarine USS Nebraska died Sept. 20.

The Navy submarine was conducting operations near the island of Oahu, Hawaii when the sailor died, according to a Navy news release. The Navy described the sailor's death as accidental. The name of the sailor has not yet been released.

Lt. Kyle Raines said the sailor was given medical treatment on board the submarine and was placed on a medical helicopter. He died while en route to a hospital.

Raines said the accident was "an isolated incident" and no other sailors were injured. An investigation into the cause of death is ongoing.

The USS Nebraska is homeported at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor.


My thoughts and prayers go out the family of this sailor as well as his submarine family aboard the USS Nebraska!

God Bless
Samantha

Edit: The idenity was released: Machinist Mate 3rd Class Michael A. Gentile, of Fairfield, Maine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

In Joeys words...

Sometimes you need their words...to make it to the next day.....
And today *drum roll* I got them!

Wanted to share just a small part of a fantastic email from my husband:

I know I am very loved and spoiled, I hope that you feel you are loved
too, I was a little worried there for a bit. I thought that you might have
forgotten how special you are to me and how you are the light in my eyes and the
wind in my sails and the jelly to my peanut butter.

I melted.
Literally. And read it over and over and over again!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The first email from Chief LaCouture

My first email from Joey the Chief finally arrived. Turns out he got pinned with the same anchors that his COB was pinned with, they came from his first Chief who retired the year before he made Chief. That meant a lot to him.

He swears that he made sure lots of guys took pictures and someone even videoed it for me! Another neat thing that happened is when Joey was in Bahrain...he was trading coins and the one the Mine Sweeper gave him was the USS CHIEF coin! What a neat memory from his transition season.

I really wish I would have got to share those moments with him but I am equally glad we both had our submarine families to fall back on.

Quick Thank-You on my end to:

Illene Breckle- For helping me get all of Joe's new uniforms to send.
Jeannie and Ken- For Keeping me sane and helping me understand the transition
Erica and Shawn Sharpe- For Keeping both Joe and I from jumping off a ledge!
Stephanie- For keeping me company and listening to my complaints/sobbing.
Kelly Kirk- For listening to me complain/cry and offering suggestions/solutions.
Eric Doe and Tony Kirk- For watching over Joe during the transition. xoxo
The USS ALEXANDRIA Goat Locker- The great welcome and support! Can't wait for Khaki Ball!
My friends and family- For all the cards and packages they sent to Joe during the transition.


Well, transition is over. We are excited!
Oh - and the end of Joe's email:

Love
Chief Joe LaCouture

P.S That means you are the Chiefs wife. You instantly just got like 15 times hotter
then you already were.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My husband, THE CHIEF


Today - Joey was pinned at 1:00PM.
Congrats Chief LaCouture!!

I am very sad that I did not get to pin him- Our best friend wrote me an email about 1/2 hour before the ceremony to tell me he understands that me having pictures in the next port means his life or death in the future. I think I may have reminded Joe to take pictures a few times in email...like maybe 100.

I sent a big poster that I signed from all of our friends and family for my adopted sailor-Jason Parks- to hang while he was getting pinned. He emailed to inform me that he hung the banner while Joey was getting pinned. Now..I'm waiting to hear from Joe.

I am so so so proud of him. People constantly ask me how I do it. It's easy when you're married to someone so amazing.

Congrats Joey!


Chief,

You are making a transition that on the surface appears very simple: A small step from E6 to E7. Can't be that hard, can it?

Yet this isn't a small step, Shipmate. It is a huge leap from the authority, responsibility, and duty of First Class Petty Officer to those of a Chief Petty Officer. There is nothing simple about it.

This transition should scare you. You should continue to experience some trepidation long after this process.

Fifteen years after I was initiated I still find myself learning, facing new challenges, and seeking the collective wisdom of my Chief's Mess. Every day I work hard to be nearly as good as those men and women who came before me, and those with whom I currently serve.

It is an awesome endeavor, walking in the shadow of the great and the brave.

Maybe it is because of these anchors. They are metal, as many rank insignia are, but they convey a certain strength of character, a more direct purpose, and a much broader significance that others. These anchors can take a beating. You can immerse them in tears and blood, salt water and mud, jet fuel and bilge crud. Buff them up and watch them shine. Just like the men and women who wear them -- the Chiefs -- they clean up nice.

These anchors are durable. They last.

And, yes, your anchors will take a beating. Your shipmates will cry on them and bleed on them. It is you who will make things right, because you are now the Chief.

These anchors have to shine a little more brightly than other collar devices. Young Sailors need to see them, must be able to find them quickly in times of duress and emergency. They must shine as beacons of leadership because where Chiefs lead, the crew follows.

Where Chiefs lead, the Navy excels. And where Chiefs fail, we all fail.

Maybe that is why these anchors, unlike any other U.S. military rank insignia, uniquely identify their wearer's service - U.S.N.

These anchors are passed down from generation of Chiefs to generation of Chiefs. These anchors I wear today were given to me by a long-since retired hero: A Navy Master Chief who has been my leader, my teacher, my mentor, and my friend. But these anchors are not mine. I am holding them for a perhaps more able and more deserving leader who will in turn hand pass them on until someday they will be worn by a Chief Petty Officer not yet born. I expect some day you will hold them for a while.

These anchors I once wore are now yours and should be worn proudly. I know you have earned them. However, these anchors are earned again each and every day. They are earned on the deck plates and flight lines, on ships, and boats, and at remote locations wherever you find Chiefs leading -- wherever Sailors look for the Chief in times of stress, times of fear, times of uncertainty, and times of loneliness.

They look for these anchors, Chief, to guide them, to bring them home safely. These anchors stand for a tradition of sacrifice and duty, exalting achievements and heart-breaking losses.

Yet these anchors survive. They endure.

Always remember, however, you do not choose these anchors.

These anchors choose you.

Congratulations, Chief, and welcome to the Mess.

-- JOCM(SW/AW) David M. Butts

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pouring on my life....

The rain brought more water damage to the roof that is getting repaired tomorrow. The roofers came to drop off the materials and talked to my dad again. Turns out we need to pitch the roof- so that $1500-$1800 I thought it would cost.... now is $3200.

*sigh*

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gone wrong...

OK... BIG things that have gone wrong during deployment ( Which we are only about 1/3 through.. )

My windshield wiper motor had to be replaced. Over 3 hours of labor- they had to take apart then entire dashboard
Cost 260
Aggravation level: 6 out of 10 ( I had to get rides to work...etc )

The flat roof above our office started leaking into the closet in the office. I noticed it a bit late- and had about 8 soggy boxes to go through.
Cost 1450
Aggravation level: 9 out of 10

The flat roof that was fixed started gushing water just two days later. Turns out they forgot to seal a major seam. Ceiling completely ruined.
Cost +350 ( They had to take some money off the orginial quote for aggravation )
Aggravation: 9 out of 10

Having the entire ceiling ripped out and replaced due to above roofing mistake
Cost : 0
Aggravation level: 8 ( I had to move everything out of the room )

Waking up THIS MORNING to dripping from a different flat roof on my head in my bedroom. Ran upstairs to brush water off that roof to not cause any damage to ceiling. Called Roofer. Got re-dressed and headed off to speech in Massachusetts.
Cost estimated 1500 ( sigh )
Aggravation: 8 out of 10

While on route to speech ( about 15 minutes away ) car stops working. DIES! In the middle of 95N. Call AAA. Have it towed the 70 miles back home(I am a gold member, so that was free-thankfully). Company called a cab. Got to speech 45 minutes late. Completed a 50 minute speech in 11 minutes. Mom picked me up and brought me to her salon in RI where I waited a few hours for our neighbor Pete to pick me up. Brought my car to my mechanic Matt's.
Cost: 315 (altentator)
Aggravation 10 out of 10

What else will happen? Notice I only mention "BIG" things that have gone wrong.
I'm at my limit.
Seriously.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Celebrate!

Well..Stephanie and I decided to celebrate (vague) 1/3 done with deployment. Again- the reason I have to be vague-and the reason we didn't celebrate on the actual day is- "Loose lip...sink ships". Speaking of- Check out this link to see some of the actual posters that were hung during World War II:
http://www.usmm.org/postertalk2b.html

Anyway- We took a little liquor tour. First we had pizza(oh so yummy) and red wine at this quaint little place(that was so us!) in Mystic. We walked over to an Irish pub and sampled their Halloween beer. So good. A definite for Joe to try next year. Then the hunt for dessert left us at AZU in Mystic. Not only did we have VERY yummy desserts-we also tried two different martini's. She had a Milky Way while I had an Expresso and then I had a pear while she had a...what was her second one? We ended our celebration(we toasted at every place) at my house. We gushed over glamour, shared a few cigars and ended our liquor tour at 10:00pm.

So- to Jimmy and Joey- We raised our wine glasses, beer mugs and martini glasses to you. We love you, miss you and are so happy to be 1/3(or so) done!

And...now as I get ready for work this morning... I raise my water glass to you Stephanie. Go us! I'm so glad you're part of my life. xoxo

Nothing better then good friends during deployment.
Except maybe the skype ring....or 3:00am wake up calls from hubby... But...good friends is a close 2nd!

Samantha

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A personal question

After chatting with an older couple last name in the store. I think they enjoyed my proud submarine wife conversation- Near the end of our time together, She asked me if she could ask a person question.
I said- "Sure".
"Who will you and your husband be voting for- My husband and I always are curious what our military thinks..."

I told her I could only speak for myself -
The answer: McCain/Palin 08 - Why?
His feelings:

Strategy for Victory in Iraq
The Importance of Succeeding

John McCain believes it is strategically and morally essential for the United States to support the Government of Iraq to become capable of governing itself and safeguarding its people. He strongly disagrees with those who advocate withdrawing American troops before that has occurred.

It would be a grave mistake to leave before Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated and before a competent, trained, and capable Iraqi security force is in place and operating effectively. We must help the Government of Iraq battle those who provoke sectarian tensions and promote a civil war that could destabilize the Middle East. Iraq must not become a failed state, a haven for terrorists, or a pawn of Iran. These likely consequences of America's failure in Iraq almost certainly would either require us to return or draw us into a wider and far costlier war.

The best way to secure long-term peace and security is to establish a stable, prosperous, and democratic state in Iraq that poses no threat to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists. When Iraqi forces can safeguard their own country, American troops can return home.

Support the Successful Counterinsurgency Strategy

John McCain has been a leading advocate of the “surge” and the counterinsurgency strategy carried out by General David Petraeus. At the end of 2006, four years of a badly conceived military strategy that concentrated American troops on large bases brought us near to the point of no return. Sectarian violence in Iraq was spiraling out of control. Al Qaeda in Iraq was on the offensive. Entire provinces were under extremists’ control and were deemed all but lost. At that critical moment, John McCain supported sending reinforcements to Iraq to implement a classic counterinsurgency strategy of securing the population.

That strategy has paid off. From June 2007 through March 2008, sectarian and ethnic violence in Iraq was reduced by 90 percent. Civilian deaths and deaths of coalition forces fell by 70 percent. This has opened the way for a return to something that approaches normal political and economic life for the average Iraqi. Political reconciliation is occurring across Iraq at the local and provincial grassroots level. Sunni and Shi'a chased from their homes by terrorist and sectarian violence are returning. The "Sons of Iraq" and Awakening movements, where former Sunni insurgents have now joined in the fight against Al Qaeda, continue to grow.

Those gains would be lost if we were to follow the policy advocated by Senator Barack Obama to withdraw most of our troops and leave behind only a small “strike force” to battle terrorists. That is, in essence, the same strategy of withdrawing from Iraq’s streets that failed in 2006. John McCain advocates continuing the successful counterinsurgency strategy that began in 2007.

Push for Political Reconciliation and Good Government

Thanks to the success of the surge, Iraq's political order is evolving in positive and hopeful ways. Four out of the six laws cited as benchmarks by the U.S. have been passed by the Iraqi legislature. A law on amnesty and a law rolling back some of the harsher restrictions against former employees of the Iraqi government have made it possible for Iraqis to move toward genuine reconciliation. The legislature has devolved greater power to local and provincial authorities, where much of the real work of rebuilding Iraq is taking place.

More progress is necessary. The government must improve its ability to serve all Iraqis. A key test for the Iraqi government will be finding jobs in the security services and the civilian sector for the “Sons of Iraq” who have risked so much to battle terrorists.

Iraq will conduct two landmark elections in the near future – one for provincial governments in late 2008 and the other for the national government in 2009. John McCain believes we should welcome a larger United Nations role in supporting the elections. The key condition for successful elections is for American troops to continue to work with brave Iraqis to allow the voting to take place in relative freedom and security. Iraqis need to know that the U.S. will not abandon them, but will continue to press their politicians to show the necessary leadership to help develop their country.

Get Iraq's Economy Back on its Feet

John McCain believes that economic progress is essential to sustaining security gains in Iraq. Markets that were once silent and deserted have come back to life in many areas, but high unemployment rates continue to fuel criminal and insurgent violence. To move young men away from the attractions of well-funded extremists, we need a vibrant, growing Iraqi economy. The Iraqi government can jump-start this process by using a portion of its budget surplus to employ Iraqis in infrastructure projects and in restoring basic services.

The international community should bolster proven microfinance programs to spur local-level entrepreneurship throughout the country. Iraq's Arab neighbors, in particular, should promote regional stability by directly investing the fruits of their oil exports in Iraq. As these efforts begin to take hold in Iraq, the private sector, as always, will create the jobs and propel the growth that will end reliance on outside aid. Iraq’s government needs support to better deliver basic services—clean water, garbage collection, abundant electricity, and, above all, a basic level of security—that create a climate where the Iraqi economy creation can flourish.

Call for International Pressure on Syria and Iran

Syria and Iran have aided and abetted the violence in Iraq for too long. Syria has refused to crack down on Iraqi insurgents and foreign terrorists operating within its territory. Iran has been providing the most extreme and violent Shia militias with training, weapons, and technology that kill American and Iraqi troops. American military spokesmen have also said there is evidence that Iran has provided aid to Sunni insurgents.

The answer is not unconditional dialogues with these two dictatorships from a position of weakness. The answer is for the international community to apply real pressure to Syria and Iran to change their behavior. The United States must also bolster its regional military posture to make clear to Iran our determination to protect our forces and deter Iranian intervention.

Level with the American People

John McCain believes it is essential to be honest with the American people about the opportunities and risks that lie ahead. The American people deserve the truth from their leaders. They deserve a candid assessment of the progress made in the last year, of the serious difficulties that remain, and of the grave consequences of a reckless and irresponsible withdrawal.

Many Americans have given their lives so that America does not suffer the worst consequences of failure in Iraq. Doing the right thing in the heat of a political campaign is not always easy. But it is necessary.

John McCain on the Road Ahead

“I do not want to keep our troops in Iraq a minute longer than necessary to secure our interests there. Our goal is an Iraq that can stand on its own as a democratic ally and a responsible force for peace in its neighborhood. Our goal is an Iraq that no longer needs American troops. And I believe we can achieve that goal, perhaps sooner than many imagine. But I do not believe that anyone should make promises as a candidate for President that they cannot keep if elected. To promise a withdrawal of our forces from Iraq, regardless of the calamitous consequences to the Iraqi people, our most vital interests, and the future of the Middle East, is the height of irresponsibility. It is a failure of leadership. “

“I know the pain war causes. I understand the frustration caused by our mistakes in this war. And I regret sincerely the additional sacrifices imposed on the brave Americans who defend us. But I also know the toll a lost war takes on an army and on our country's security. By giving General Petraeus and the men and women he has the honor to command the time and support necessary to succeed in Iraq we have before us a hard road. But it is the right road. It is necessary and just. Those who disregard the unmistakable progress we have made in the last year and the terrible consequences that would ensue were we to abandon our responsibilities in Iraq have chosen another road. It may appear to be the easier course of action, but it is a much more reckless one, and it does them no credit even if it gives them an advantage in the next election.” –John McCain

We have lost so many always- In their honor, in their name.... let's finish what we started.

How do I feel about Palin? So far - I love her.

So- Military families-Who are you leaning to? Just curious- Comment back!

Anyway- Just my opinion - And that's what blogging is for- right?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A fantastic bday!

I truly had a fantastic birthday! Thankfully my husband(Until Joe gets home) Stephanie is home from vacation. After work yesterday- Stephanie took me out to S and P Oyster in Mystic for some wine and seafood- yum yum!

and..... *drum roll* I even got a birthday email. A really mushy one. It was perfect(not a word I usually describe for the way Joe shows affection). It included this song:

Hello Love and Happy Birthday!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear Monkey!!
Happy Birthday toooo youoououuouououo!

The best part is I can picture him singing that very song- If he was home. In the morning. He may have added a little dance to it. He can be so silly. He usually makes me laugh so hard my insides hurt. It's so much harder to feel that connection when he's gone- but then I get my silly email song- and *pop* there it is again.

Oh so sweet....
xoxo
Samantha

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Birthday wishes from under the sea!

Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday...Samantha...Happy Birthday to me!

My parents came up to CT last night to ring in the big day with me! We went out to dinner and they picked out some beautiful items for my birthday that I needed for work. I actually started my birthday last week when Regan(my favorite 3 year old) handed me her very own "happy dopey" gift. It was a Cole Haan wallet- so I think her mom may have helped her pick it out. It's super cute. Now, I need the matching designer purse!


Joe left a beautiful card for today- ( Wow- I'm a lucky girl- Birthday wishes from under the sea!) Joe's really not an emotional guy when we talk- or even in email- BUT it seems if he can write on paper, seal it and not have to worry about having feelings- I get them! Listen to how cute: " I've been thinking about you..about us...and all the special times we have shared. Those times wouldn't be the same without you. I think of our heart-to-heart talks, of sharing secrets, dreams, happiness and even tears Through everything, I can count on you to listen, advise, encourage or simply say- I know just how you feel- And thought I hope you already know how very important you are to me, I thought you might like to hear it on this special day. I wish I could be there. Have a great Birthday"

I'm going to enjoy having a few of my close girlfriends over Next Sat for some liquid celebrations.

Well... In the famous words spoken by Regan Hope Laurie - Happy Dopey Mantha.

xox

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Joe's 2nd calendar square




This is Joe's 2nd calendar square of deployment!
It's one of my favorite days in the whole wide world- The day we eloped!
This isn't to say I didn't love our clambake reception and having all my friends and family around while we professed our love- because I did. This day was secret and special in it's own way though.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Roof Update

With help from our good friend/neighbor Pete and my Dad(who drove an hour early Sat morning to make sure everything was OK) - I felt much better going to work.

It leaked into the bucket all day. The plaster actually got so damp/wet- it started peeling from my ceiling. The crack goes across one whole side of the ceiling and is starting to form an L shape at the moment.

The roofer who was on vacation in NH finally got our messages and called us back. He's going to be back by on Monday to straighten everything out.

Initially- I felt very ALONE. But after thinking about it- It's true Joe isn't here- but Pete came right over to help me sweep the water off the roofs. He also took pictures ( that hopefully we won't need ). My dad raced over here to make sure ( as my mom put it )his little girl's roof didn't cave in.

I'm okay. It's just a roof. No one got hurt.
My husband and I are healthy, happily married and this is just a small bump in the road.... in my road. It will pass.

Oh and Stephanie is home- Yipppeee. She's not allowed to go on any more family vacations when the boys are deployed! I missed her too much. Welcome Back Stephanie!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

drip...drip...drip

OK, New roof done - Or so I thought...

Rain storm......7am...drip drip drip. I jump out of bed and go flying into our office to see our ceiling start to crack with water dripping at a very fast pace.

Are you serious ( What I actually said...) before dialing my parents. the roofer(left a message) and Pete(the neighbor).

Now...I have a bucket... and towels...and I'm just over this whole thing.

I'm getting ready for work- hoping that while I am the dripping doesn't change spots or drip faster(due to rain) then it already is...because I can't save my stuff....because.. I'll be at work..

*SIGH*

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

LUCKY

\


Ugh. How perfect is this.

One of our good friends Brandy emailed me to tell me this song remindedr her of us. Thank you Brandy.

God I miss him.....so very much.

A very sad Samantha who should be in bed....

silence.....

As the boat gets underway and "goes under the sea" into many weeks of silence(no communication in or out), I wonder if Joe and I enter this reality of NO CONTACT on common ground. It's so wonderful and horrible to talk to him in port. Wonderful because you miss then so much and hearing their voice warms your heart and horrible because it's just a reminder that you're not together and you miss them so much. For Joe and I - Making CHIEF was an amazing accomplishment. But everything amazing comes with a price.

The price?
-While I watched friends talk to their husbands for hours- there was no skype for us in this port. Every conversation was limited. There were spans of days we didn't get to talk
-A very tired and depressed Joe for EVERY conversation. Me attempting to console him (Although when I told him he was wimp- I don't think that attempt was a positive one)

Every conversation we had during this port seemed to consist of us struggling to understand how the other person is coping with deployment... struggling to support each other emotionally... struggling to find the right words. One big struggle after another.

One thing we have learned during deployment is that I'll always be upset and overwhelmed by Joe's lack of emotions when he's at sea. Joe will always be angry and overwhelmed by my abundance of emotions while he's at sea (or anytime in our life). Joe tries to explain that when he's at sea- there is a lot of pressures at work and it's hard for him to switch from work Joe to husband Joe so quickly. I tell him that I feel overwhelmed with all of the daily tasks that come with two homes and two careers(mine and his) and I NEED him to express his feelings and love for me- it's what keeps me together and feeling like there is a purpose to all of this.

During our last conversation... I sniffled.. "Don't you need me?....Aren't I helping?" EWWWW. I hate women like that. But mostly- I hate me like that. I'm independent. I owned a home before Joe. I traveled around the world before Joe. I shouldn't care if he needs me. I shouldn't WANT him to need me. Eww. Ewww. Eww. He gave some lame answer- which just made me feel more out of sorts for saying it. Yuck. I shudder thinking about it. When I feel those things and then worse- verbalize them- I immediately feel weak and worthless. What kind of Navy wife am I?Why would I put pressure on him to give me an answer to something as silly as that..And why can't I keep my big mouth shut until after this chief season is over? Why do I have to be so sensitive?

And then...after I "storm" about it- The calm comes. I've grown up these last few years. I don't need to be super independent all the time anymore. I'm part of a team now. My team is strong and united by marriage. Joe (my choice for team member) is my best friend. My life partner. My lover. Good news: He picked me as his team member which means I'm all the above to him too. Of course it matters to me that he can feel comfortable leaning on me(a form of needing). Of course I care if he takes my advice. Of course I'm hurt when he doesn't mention all the packages I sent. Those things aren't silly. He's my team mate. He's the first person I want to talk to every morning and the last person I want to talk to before bed. He knows my secrets. He loves my imperfections. He truly loves me for me. He's my husband. Those feelings are OK.

So- my ego may be a little deflated- for needing and wanting someone as much as I need and want Joe. My pride is cowering at the thought that sometimes *gasp* I too need reassurance. But- My heart doesn't feel bad at all. I should miss my husband. He's amazing. He works hard. He's going to be pinned a chief at 8.5 years mid September. He's committed to me and our future family. He calls me monkey. He cuddles. He knows when I need space. He understands my desire to succeed. He makes me laugh. He gets his eyebrows waxed because I ask him too. He NEVER complains EVER if I want something. He still opens doors and pulls out chairs. He will eat mashed potatoes every night if that is what I want. He painted a bathroom purple just for me.

He loves me- even if he doesn't always know how to say it. I know it.
.... for today anyway :)

xoxo
Samantha

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yummy Taco's

So- Taco night went fine. Robin helped me prepare my meal ( Taco's with the fixings and corn muffins! )- And it all turned out wonderfully.

It's really amazing to have such a great "sub" family. And even greater to have such great friends from before my "sub life" who do their best to understand and love Joe and I for the crazy military life we have. At one point I looked around at all the different faces laughing at each other and just smiled. I've known a few of them for 8+ years and a few I only met a few months ago- but the group really bonded and there were a lot of great stories and laughs. And babies. That's when you know you're getting old- when you get to invite babies. Chloe and Alvin didn't bond like we wanted- but we can still try to get them together at a later date!

I cherish the nights I can relax a little and just enjoy my girls. I know I am blessed to have such great bonds with quite a few fantastic women.

Thank-you!
xoxo
Samantha

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Chatting.... YAY

It's not like our hours on skype- but I'll take the 1 hour chat I got today. It was so nice to hear him joke around with me. I told him I was having TACO night at the house tonight ( Can't wait to see everyone! )- and he asked me if I was ordering from TACO Bell. I'm not known to be the best cook- ha/ha - Anyway, it was so funny... to hear him be funny.

Things are going better for him. He's having fun getting involved with all of the chief selectee's in Bahrain.

We talked about just about everything from moldy rugs to an upcoming trip I may take to visit him. Our final decision- I'm 99% going. This is a once in a life time opportunity to see him get off the sub as a chief for the first time during a port visit during deployment. It should be only the first or second time since he will have gotten pinned that he will be in chief attire off the sub. It's very exciting- and hey...money is only money right?

Oh- and having babies. We talked about that! My husband has a way with words...when I asked when he thought we should start having kids(now that we know he will be on shore duty next year) He said, " Well we should be popping out a kid soon". Well that's romantic Joe! LOL - Actually he claims he's going to fall more in love with me when I have my cute pregnant belly. We talked about trying during the port visit- but he wants to witness every minute of my growing belly- How cute is that?!

Ahh..Life feels good today!
Samantha

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Laughter....

I haven't heard my husband REALLY laugh until today. When he's home, he's a total goofball. He's always laughing and always trying to make me laugh. We spend most of our days together laughing. It's his favorite way to start the day and the best way to end any of our fights. It's what we do. It's one of the things I love most about him. He finds the humor in any situation. I was starting to get worried that this transition had taken his laughter away....until today. Finally. Sweet..Sweet laughter. Big belly laughs. Even a few giggles snuck into our conversation. He deserves to laugh. I'd miss his smiles if they went away.... They light up every room we're in together- especially when they are directed at me.

Now I can sleep.
He's okay. He's going to be okay.

My quality of life just improved.
That being said...I'm going to enjoy a small pleasure- a nap.
I think I'll finally be able to close my eyes and not have nightmares....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Finally

Joey called me this afternoon. He ( who never says sorry ) apoligized about a gazillion times. He said he just didn't have the time or energy to find a phone again after the first phone call.

Chief training really has him busy. He had to run around and meet other chiefs from the other boats. He has PT very early in the morning. And he had to buy a new uniform to "train" in since they where camo's in Bahrain. And this isn't a liberty port- it's a working port. So this is on top of work. He's at his limit.

Thanks for listening- and all the emails/calls that following this post.

Samantha

Note:(late addition) Oh- and I forgot to mention- he didn't have much to say about the roof or other misc things I got "left" with. He just kept saying he understands why I'm upset- and he wish he could go back in time to change them because the last thing he wanted to ever do was make me upset.
My answer: *sniffle* You SHOULD be sorry.

How much longer until he get back? .... AND to think two weeks ago- I was like, yeah- deploy again- that sounds great. At this moment. I wouldn't do it for 100k. I can't wait for him to be back. I just want him to wrap his arms around me and mimic my two year old request... hold me.

feeling angry....

As I dealt with soggy boxes...roofers...and cleaning... I waited and waited for my husband to call me.

And waited.

Cleaned...and waited. I even got up on our roof with one roofer!

By the end of the day- knowing the time difference in Bahrain... I knew I wouldn't get a call. Luckily- I had one friend who also didn't - Kelly - and her husband(like mine) is very very good about communication.

I didn't sleep because I still thought- he'll email me. He'll DO something.

On my way to work this morning.... I turn on my cell phone ( I don't get service at or around my house ) and see a voicemail. I roll my eyes thinking Mom was up early this morning checking on me. But no. Voicemail is from my husband.

On Monday when we talked - I told him that Tuesday would be my first day off in weeks. He can't possibly be so self absorbed- that he forgot. He lives in that house ( he's never there- but he DOES live there so he knows we don't get cell phone service ) - AND even if he didn't know or didn't remember that was the FUCKING best he could do? Call my cell phone once?

Oh- and the reason we need to replace out roof ( Which is happening on Tuesday ) - because my wonderful husband never cleaned out the gutters, or our flat roofs- and everything collected up there...so.... all the rain water, leaves etc pooled up there caving in the middle of TWO flat roofs. We actually have grass and plants growing out of our gutters. Greener grass then on our lawn one roofer joked with my dad. My parents stopped by on their way home from Maryland to meet the roofer I picked and make sure we weren't geting ripped off. I'm lucky to have great family here to help.

*sigh* Now- obviously. He was never taught home maitnence. And the solution is to have a pre-deployment check list. Which now we have. Things to check so your wife doesn't hang herself in the bathroom(Kelly came over to make sure I didn't - thank you!) I don't actually think he's stupid. Or that he would do anything on purpose to make my life difficult- but it certainly doesn't feel like he tried to make sure everything would be OK. I don't feel safe and/or protected. I feel very very angry.

We're going to replace one roof now and one next spring. So monthly- I have to get up there and clean it off, make sure no water is sitting up there. This will ensure the other flat roof makes it until Spring. I'll be looking to borrow ladders this fall and winter.

*sigh*
When does the feeling end. The overwhelming feeling of doom.
I can't do this for 6 months.
I don't even feel like me anymore.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Joe's first Calendar Square



Today is Joe's first calendar square of the deployment! All of the wives calendar squares go up on this big calendar each month and the guys are allowed to take their day down when their day arrives. So- Joe's first one is here!

Thought I would share!
xoxo
Samantha

Monday, August 18, 2008

Are you ready?

Hi Monkey. You ready to stop being mad yet? Because, I'm ready- and it feels so much better not being mad.

LOL. How do you say NO to that? My husband is in port. Whew! He called. Whew! Our email fight is over. Whew!

We finished making our life decision. I finally said... I don't know how tired you are. I don't know what it's like to have 4 deployments in a row. You have to tell me. Money is just Money. We can make more of it. His response: (a very quiet) I'm tired babe. All along- he just wanted it to be OK. Financially- obviously with our re-enlistment bonus- being in a tax free zone would have been best-which would mean going to a boat and deploying. But like I said to him- (and I meant it) - His sanity...our life..and our family is more important then any sum of money. My response: OK, then you're coming home. There was no further conversation about it...but I could tell he was relieved. And I'm actually ( although I may never admit this out loud ) relieved too. To have the decision made. And to have him come home- as deployment was continuing... I was thinking... maybe I shouldn't have told him he could go to a boat...maybe it's time for family time now. In the end- His career is most important- so we could have gone to a boat...BUT...secretly... I'm glad we're not.

So home for shore duty it is. PMT to be exact. Which means we won't lose sea pay-since he'll be going on short underways during the three years. We report in April. He should leave there being VERY knowledgeable about fixing things ( more then he is now ). Hopefully get some more schools under his belt. Maybe finish his BA. And... Oh..yeah: get me pregnant (knock me up didn't have the same ring to it). We should have a busy three years!

I'm a very sensitive but VERY cold person. I get angry way before I cry. But...I have been crying a lot lately. It's been odd. So after a blissful hour of discussion- He tells me it's time for him to go because he has to share the phone he is using. I start crying and say I don't want to share. Joe chuckled. Little does he know...I was serious. *sigh*

Feeling much much much better!
Samantha

Sunday, August 17, 2008

pit....

- So far... e-mail drops haven't been helping us in the way of making progress to feeling happier with big decisions or life in general.

The pit in my stomach gets bigger and bigger....

and bigger...and bigger.... and bigger.......

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Joey's words....

My card:

Sam,

You are the one who.... Finds my stuff, loves my quirks, takes my side, knows my stories, gets my jokes, finishes my sentences, soothes my worries...the one who makes all my days better. And makes me a better me.

I know I am not good at telling you how important you are to me. I wish I could better explain how much all the things you do mean to me. I love you and it's true what they say... "Behind every good man is a good woman". I don't think you are behind me. You are always right there beside me as my wife and best friend. I love you very much and can't wait to come home to you.

Love J

So.. I know I've been VERY upset- and vented to some of you. And you all have been fantastic with advice, love and support- I shared these words with you- so you could all say.. " told you so! ".

ha-ha.

Thank you everyone. I know it's all okay.
We're okay. E-mail sucks. Deployment sucks.

Our marriage- does not suck- And that's a good thing.
Much love to you all and mostly to Joe- for perfect timing with perfect words.

Continued frustration - with a small light!

Frustration continues.

-Ran out of gas on my way home ( because I took 95 N to RI on accident and didn't know until I got there ) after working 10am-9pm. Thank you Stephanie for saving me!
-Still trying to find a licensed roofer to come look at the roof.
-Yard Sale was successful(thankfully no rain)-but my house is now trashed.
-Still in a delayed email "face off" with Joey. Turns out he never got my not so great e-mails but did get the one where I tried to be nicer and explain myself- Which left him confused, cold and somewhat angry.

Joy.

So- he left me all these cards. They have labels. The only one I have opened is the one that said " open after the sub pulls away". Otherwise- Deployment time has flown by- and I haven't "needed" any cards. I picked... " Open this when you feel like I don't care enough".

It was perfect. 100% what I needed/wanted to hear. Two short paragraphs put my mind at ease. I should have opened it days ago. I'm at work now- but I'll post the exact words later.

Feeling better- but still stressed
Samantha

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Overwhelmed

*sigh*

Ever been in an email fight? How about with someone that you CAN'T have an in person or phone conversation with? Throw in the fact that he's going through a difficult time anyway(6 week transition chief training).

*sigh*

Trying to make life decisions about orders(where to go/what to do next in the NAVY) is difficult in real life- in the e-mail world it's even harder. And it's easy to misunderstand what someone is trying to tell you. And add on the stress of bills, mortgages, house leaks, car problems...etc. It's time for a breakdown. But- I can't breakdown- I'm a NAVY wife- I don't have a choice but to continue.

What do I do instead?

Fire back a "not so nice" email. Actually two. I couldn't help myself. I didn't feel better after I sent them. I actually felt bad. So I sent a third trying to explain myself in a much calmer fashion. It's just very frustrating feeling like he's not listening to what I'm trying to say. It's frustrating to feel alone all the time. It's overwhelming doing everything yourself. It's frustrating. Very frustrating balancing and juggling everything. It's hard to be feeling all these things...and going through closets to finish collecting everything for the upcoming Yard Sale and find letters, pictures..etc from the ex-wife. And I know that's the way way long ago past. But it still stings. Call me crazy but- It stings a lot. And then while I was cleaning out the closet- I noticed a damp smell and damp boxes. Yes- A leak. An actual drape in the ceiling. The roof. Just what we need right now. *sigh* I had our neighbor/close friend Pete come by to take a look- and help me move everything out of the room. We just will need to get on the roof this week at some point. I have a fan going to help with the mold.

I'm exhausted. And frustrated (did I mention frustrated?). And hurt.

Mostly. I just hurt right now. Over everything. Which makes me feel stupid because I do angry way better then hurt. Hurt is hard for me.

But... it hurts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Quote of the day!

Robin sent this to me today. I liked it.
So I'm sharing.


"A Navy Wife is no ordinary woman. Operating for months at a time without the companionship or assistance of her husband, she routinely overcomes challenges that would give the average person a nervous breakdown."
-Jeff Edwards

Note: I also shared this on a website- and got this reply:

I want to add more information because I think the back story is pretty cool. He wanted to do a tribute to his wife for standing by his side during his career, so he wrote and then read this to his wife at his retirement ceremony. Yeah, we stumbled across it while researching retirement ceremonies. Here's the entire 'poem'...

The Navy Wife

A Navy Wife is no ordinary woman. Operating for months at a time without the companionship or assistance of her husband, she routinely overcomes challenges that would give the average person a nervous breakdown.

Part Doctor, part Teacher and part Handyman, she can lavish loving care on a sick toddler, help a teenager with his Algebra homework, and track down a faulty circuit breaker -- all while holding down a full time job.

With thirty minutes notice, she can serve breakfast, lunch, or dinner to fourteen hungry Sailors, and still somehow balance her family's meager grocery budget.

She can press a set of dress whites to inspection standards, tie a perfect square knot in a military neckerchief, and pack a seabag in the cold hours before dawn.

For months at a time, she must settle for letters instead of kisses, emails in place of hugs, and long-distance phone calls in lieu of her husband's touch.

She manages a smile when her Sailor is at sea for the second Anniversary in a row, and accepts the fact that there's a one-in-three chance that he will have to stand Duty on her Birthday. She has learned to stand on a pier and wave goodbye without tears, even when her heart is breaking.

To her children, she is Chauffeur, Umpire, Psychologist, Spiritual Advisor, Financial Consultant, part-time Father, Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, and the Easter Bunny. To her husband, she is Friend, Lover, Partner, Confidant, and Soul-Mate.

She is a patriot. She is the sort of citizen that all of us should be, but so few of us are. She lives with sacrifice, because she believes in the rights and ideals that her husband defends. Although she wears no uniform, she is a part of that defense -- a vital link in the chain of Freedom. Although she wears no medals and will reap no glory on the field of battle, she is a hero in the truest sense of the word.

She is a Navy Wife.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

frustrated.

I've been feeling very frustrated and overwhelmed lately. I can't seem to snap out of it. Nothing really in particular- just a lot of things in a lot of areas in my life.

I miss Joe. No one is as comforting as he is. I have people who come in a very close second thankfully but it's still not the same. I was having a really crappy day yesterday and I swear that the 3 year old I watch knew it. She's not a cuddly kid. She's hilarious but not into snuggles. She's got bigger and better things to do. Not only did I get snuggles....I got.. " I love you mantha's" ALL DAY. Kelly snuck in a cheerful visit and Stephanie was online when I was getting into bed to tell me my feelings were normal. I love Regan, Kelly and Stephanie- but Joe snuggles would have been nice. See.. Me? I'm not hilarious- I'm cuddly!

New schedule starts in a week- Since High School will be starting and I start speaking (YAY) again.

Monday - Girls
Tuesday/Wed - Speaking
Thursday - Girls
Friday- Store/ Sometimes Speaking
Sat - Store (every other)
Sunday - Store

My speaking schedule is already pretty booked up- Which is great. I really love the program in the fall. Nothing else very exciting to report in August. We're ( About ten families ) having a huge yard sale in my yard on Sat the 16th. I'm psyched to try to get rid of the rest of the leftovers from the YARD SALE and the new stuff I've collected.

Joe's still in the transition period(6 weeks) of making Chief. This is a really tough time for him especially because he is the only one on his sub to have made it. He's always in my thoughts. He'll get pinned on/around September 15th on the boat. Normally I would get to pin him-but not when he's on deployment. I just hope they take some good pictures. I can't wait for him to get pinned. I'm making the cutest announcements in the world to send out!

Well- that's the update for now!
Samantha

Friday, August 8, 2008

Decisions/Decisions....


*sigh*


Email from Joe about where we go from here...

PMT billet opens Apr 09. He needs to submit a 1306/7 for a Mar 09 xfr and I
will have the detailer pencil him in. Subschool billets are an option, but
from my perspective PMT keeps him involved on the waterfront (which is
better for him). So shore duty in Groton is not a problem.

That is what they said to me in an email about billets. I already talked to the COB and the guy who talks to detailers here. COB talked to me about going to another boat and I told him I would have to talk to you about it. It's more career enchancingand it would put me in a position to re-enlist tax free. It also would BE a short sea tour only about 24 months or so. I wanted to know what you think we should do. It would be be me being gone for longer since any boat I go to will be deploying soon if I had to guess. I am tired though so I am not sure that would be the best thing. Not to mention it would mean putting our lives on hold for another two years or so and that's not a choice I am willing to make without talking to you. Not sure with the houses and thoughts to have kids soon... It maybe makes more sense to go to sea and set us up better financially. I want to come home and be with you Monkey but it may be better for our family not to do that just yet. But man does that suck. Some thing to think about.

Did I mention *sigh* There goes my plans for shore duty...

Basically I told him I would support whatever he wants to do.
It's so frustrating making life decisions on email.

It's very overwhelming.
I'm exhausted.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

GREAT CPO lists

Joe had to write this for his charge book:

Ten reasons why I will be a GREAT Chief Petty Officer
1. I will receive great training
2. Have the support of the Chiefs Quarters
3. Unwilling to compromise my core beliefs or values
4. I want to pass down the lessons I have learned the hard way
5. To try and make a difference in my peoples lives
6. My desire to learn how to make the job better
7. Constant willingness to learn more
8. Sense of humor
9. I think leadership is best done from the front
10. My great singing voice

SO DID I :
Here are mine:

Ten reasons why my husband will make an AMAZING Chief Petty Officer

1. My husband will be a great mentor and role model to his sailors.
2. He understands that he is now the "go-to" guy for worried parents, spouses and children. He is in trust of their loved ones while deployed, at war and in everyday tasking. He will be accountable to them. He will be dedicated to them.
3. He will be dedicated to the sailors excellence. He will do anything to help them attain their goals.
4. He will always do the right thing. Not the popular thing. Thr right thing.
5. He understands the special responsibility to his comrades. He will check in with them both emotionally and physically. He will know how to empower them and strengthen them.
6. He is a fantastic leader - He leads by example. He will never ask a sailor to do something he hasn't done or wouldn't be willing to do.
7. He is a good teacher. Steady. Knowledgeable. Patient.
8. He is a family man. He was a single man for a long time first. He has experience with supporting both lifestyles. This gives him diversity and knowledge to be understanding and helpful to his team.
9. He loves what he does. He is proud to be part of the US Navy. He will inspire his team to feel the same way. He will show them why a positive attitude makes everything much more manageable.
10. He never settles. He always shoots higher. He will want to be the best and most knowledgeable at his job. He will continue to learn and better himself.


PROUD WIFE,
Samantha