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The New Spouse Kit

I love chocolate.  A good fudge brownie can help get me through the worst days.  I'm also addicted to watching Dog the Bounty Hunter on TV.  When life seems to be going its worst, I tune in on On-Demand and hold a Dog marathon.

If I could not order Bath and Body Works Sparkling Peach lotion, I would not be able to yank myself back up to feeling somewhat desirable and sexy on those days when I've been wearing sweats and a tank top for a week straight, cleaned two toilet overflows, set off the smoke detector with burning chicken strips, and had at least two episodes where different children contracted something that caused violent vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Lately I've been mulling over a new idea (for my base, at least).  I'd like to start welcoming new spouses to the base with a basket full of the goodies they will need most while they are here with us.  And not one of those plastic bags filled with various coupons and a couple of pencils with phone numbers on them.  Surprisingly, there wasn't a whole lot of thought necessary into many of the goodies most necessary - the problem actually came about in narrowing the list to manageable proportions!

So, what did I come up with?

First and foremost - a phone list.  And not the base directory, either.  While helpful when trying to locate the number of the swimming pool to get hours information, or to make an appointment at the clinic; the base directory doesn't give you any ideas when your spouse has been deployed for two months, the baby has a fever of 103 degrees, the six year old refuses to get dressed for school, and the pit-bull mix dog ran away and had relations with the Colonel's prize winning Standard Poodle.

In that case, new spouses need  a SPOUSE directory.  A phone tree that delineates the support system for the new guys, or the FRG calling list.  And if there isn't one available at the base, we might want to get together and make one.

The second most important item in the basket would be a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  How on EARTH people lived without them I'll never know.  That stuff is great - pencil or marker on the wall?  Pow!  Gone!  Combat boot skid marks on the tile?  Poof!  Erased in a few seconds of vigorous rubbing!  I have no idea how the erasers work, but I just don't care.  As far as I'm concerned they are a special and wonderful magic.  And it makes your check out of base quarters significantly easier.

Third - several bite sized pieces of Ghiradelli's chocolate.  These are for hiding in the freezer.  Take one in periods of high stress.  Can't live without them.

The fourth item in the basket is somewhat related to the Magic Eraser.  It's a cleaning item, anyway.  Oxi-Clean.  Ahhhh, that miraculous laundry additive.  I'm so reliant on Oxi-Clean that I've given Billy Mays (the guy who makes the Oxi-Clean commercials) near god-like status on cleaning products.  If he promotes it,  I assume it has miraculous cleaning properties. 

In our base housing at Kelly AFB in Texas, we had white Berber carpet.  No, I'm not kidding.  Someone made that decision and apparently thought it was a good one.  In any case, it doesn't go well with pets, men in combat boots, children, or Texas mud.

But we checked out of housing without them noting a single stain thanks to an Oxi-Clean soak.  Indispensable, really.  And it's even more miraculous when I tell you that our third daughter was a home-birth in a room that was wall to wall with that carpet.  Yes, it cleaned it ALL up.  Good stuff.

Another item that new spouses can't do without is an introduction to the good take out and delivery eateries in proximity to the base.  No one ever told me not to eat at that place, and I really wish they had.  A few GOOD coupons (not those 5% off order over 50$ during lunch on MWF things) or some gift certificates would work wonders.

Sometimes it's hard to feel sexy and desirable when you're single parenting and your other half is in a war zone.  We need our girlie (or guy) stuff to help us relax a little.  So I think it would be absolutely necessary to have a "pampering" kit in the welcome basket.  Good lotions, smelly soaps, and a foot soak for the ladies and maybe a video game and some action DVDs for the guys. 

What else?  A list of all the Pampered Chef, Avon, Mary Kay, Creative Memories, and other spouse home businesses in the area.  Every time I move I have to find a new Avon lady, and it's hard to know where to start.  I naturally want to give my business to other spouses, but sometimes it's hard to find them.

I'd like to know what other people think we should include in these new spouse kits.  What do you think?

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