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Dear Secretary Gates...

I have decided to expand my letter to Secretary Gates. I truly believe that not only will my letter be well-received by Secretary Gates, but military wives everywhere will be grateful to me for championing a cause worth fighting for. I've got your backs, ladies.

My husband and I moved about two months ago. Unfortunately, this is a very temporary move. We will be here less than a year, which made renting our home to tenants and finding a home to rent a very big challenge, but I digress. Although, maybe I should expand the letter to include a request to ban moves that do not occur in six or twelve month increments. Note to self: Visit this topic later.

Anyway, we moved into a home that is half the size of our old home, so you can imagine the challenges associated with that. Namely, half of our household goods are unusable, the basement is stuffed with furniture and still unopened boxes and my tiny kitchen has been expanded into the garage where armoires and bedroom chest-of-drawers are housing serving pieces and pantry items.

Try as I have, I cannot seem to make this home efficient and organized. In fact, I've given up. What the hay, nine months will fly by. Here's to living in temporary mode....

I can handle running to the garage when I need those croutons that won't fit in my kitchen pantry. Actually, I don't have a kitchen pantry. I can handle sifting through boxes stacked in no particular order in my basement while trying to find that tax return I need. I can handle having my clothes in the guest room closet instead of the master bedroom closet because my clothes won't fit. I can handle sharing an office with my husband, though just barely. But, I've found something that I can't handle. Not this time. And that's pulling those blasted yellow stickers off of every piece of furniture in this house. Something I normally do within two days.

Don't sweat the small stuff, they say. I'm done sweating with this move. It was two hours door-to-door and was supposed to be the easiest move I've ever made. By far, it's been the worst. So I'm sitting in my living room last night and I see this fluorescent yellow sticker screaming at me. Taunting me, really. And that's when it came to me. Hold on, you're going to love this.... Trust me.

We need choices. We need a sticker color wheel.

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I mean, c'mon, this is 2007 and women are serious about their home decor. It's high time the Department of Defense gave us options. In ten moves, I have never, not once, had a moving company ask me which color of sticker I would prefer. Noooo, they just slap on these hideous orange, yellow or flaming red stickers. Stick out like a sore thumb. What's that you say? They're supposed to? Oh, stop being reasonable and just roll with me.

So, I was thinking that because I've just had it with this most recent move, and since I have better things to do with my time than peel yellow stickers off of furniture, only to have them slapped back on in a few months, it sure would be great to have some nice caramel-colored stickers. That way I wouldn't feel so bad about leaving them on my furniture. My color palate is golds and reds and dark woods, so a nice caramel color would blend right in. Might even add more interest to my furniture. Think of them as free accessories.

I can see it now... when I host a get-together all the wives will ohhh and ahhhh and say, "wow, you got caramel-colored stickers. I love the shade. It really compliments your furniture." And I would gush inside as I walk into the kitchen garage to get another tray of food and I would say, "I got lucky, it works so well."

I'm onto something here.

Dear Secretary Gates,

I realize you are a very busy man and I thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I am also available to meet with you in person should you feel it necessary. As you're about to find out, I have some revolutionary new ideas and I believe they are of the utmost importance to modern-day military spouses. I have a deep passion for military spouses and I will stop at nothing to right a wrong, hence this letter to you.

First, we must talk about those pens. They are wreaking havoc on our homes, our budgets and our marriages. As you know, Family Strong = Army Strong, so we must address this immediately. I'm including some research I've conducted on pen vendors, along with my recommendations for suitable replacements. I will be happy no matter which of the recommendations you choose, all are adequate writing instruments and are sure to cause much less damage than what you currently use. Mrs. Gates would likely concur. Do they make you use those pens too? I would think maybe you have one with your name engraved on it or something. Well, anyway...

Moving right along, home decor and design are very important to military spouses. We spend a lot of time in our homes because our husbands are away quite a bit (we can talk about that too, if you'd like) and we want our homes to be a reflection of who we are - smart, stylish, cutting-edge women. The neon orange and yellow stickers simply will not do. This has to stop. This is 2007, for goodness sakes. I consider myself something of an amateur interior decorator and I believe I have a good eye for color, so I would be happy to lend my services to revamping the color wheel and I would even be available to name the colors. I always wanted one of those jobs naming the colors of lipstick or fingernail polish. Berries in the Snow. See, doesn't that sound sexy and stylish? I am confident I would be good at this and I'm here if you need me. As they say, military spouses serve too. Think of this as my contribution to the GWOT.

Oh, and while we're at it, if you'd like me to take a look at your office, I'd be honored. We could do one of those makeovers like you see on HGTV. Like, for instance, when you traipse off to Baghdad for a few days, I could come in and redecorate your office while you're away. It would be fun. Think it over and have your people get with my people. Well, I don't actually have people, but I could probably get my husband to take a message and pretend like he's my people. Then again, maybe not because if your people call him, he's going to think he's in trouble or something because technically, he works for you and your people. Well, let me think about this. Maybe airforcewife will be my people. Oh no, that's a really bad idea, too. Maybe AWTM? That could be a bad if you catch her on the wrong day. Anyway, I will sort it all out and send over contact info for my people when I figure out who my people are.

I've taken up enough of your time for one day. I think it's important you know that I'm a strong advocate for the military community (as you can see) so I will come back to you with more requests as they pop up. For now, I look forward to your reply (but only after I find people, okay?).

Andi 

p.s. My husband won't get in trouble over this or anything, will he? He doesn't really get why I'm all wound up over the whole pen/sticker issue. It was my idea to write you, not his. He'll be the first to tell you he has no control over me. Well, wait, I don't really mean it like that. I know you're a bit older than we are and you might come from that old line of thinking that says a soldier must control his wife. So, let me assure you he can control me, it's just that he didn't know I was writing to you about this. I wanted to surprise him. When you call me to redecorate your office, he'll be so proud of me. I like to surprise him. Well, now, not like suprise him in a "bad" way. Surprise him, with like, a "good" surprise. Like "I'm so proud" or "Happy Birthday" kind of surprises.

Oh, and when I said you are "older than we are." I didn't mean "old." In fact, I often tell my husband that you have such a nice head full of hair. Well, okay, not "often." I mean, we don't really sit around and discuss you. Unless we're saying something like, "that Secretary Gates, he's really a nice man," which is rare. We're not like obsessed with you or your age or your hair or... Oh, nevermind (nervous laughter). Anyway, just want you to know that my husband had nothing to do with this letter. Nothing at all. 

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