My mission for Summer 2009: Survive almost 3 months of boiling heat with both kids athome all day, every day; without selling either child on e&ay. Do so without going bankrupt.
My strategy: a littlesomething I'll call the reverse deployment.That's when the family members leave and the service-member holds downthe home-front ('cause they still have a job to do, you know).
The kids and I loaded up the car and hit the road. Except for the 1st week, when[*gasp*] Stretch actually took leave and joined us, we were on the road andStretch was left behind to man the home-front.As it turns out, he didn't enjoy being the one left at home. I can understand that. I don't particularly enjoy it, either.
We actually reverse deployedtwice. The first time was for 4weeks. It started with a 3-day driveacross 6 states to my mother's home. Thefirst night we stayed at a military installation: great suite and even better price. The 2nd night we used Stretch'shotel reward points for a free night.(Guess all those TAD trips had a good side to them after all.) Stretch helped drive half-way across thecountry and then flew home (or redeployed) on Father's Day. (Hm-m, that might not have sent quite theright message.) The kids and I stayedanother week while the girls took swim lessons.When it was time to go, I drove a day and a half across 3 states,spending the night at another military installation, before reaching my aunt'shome. After reconnecting with extendedfamily for a few days, we hit the road again to join a fellow military spousefor the 4th of July. We onlyhad to cross into the next state this time and it took only half a day. Despite not having laid eyes oneach other in almost 5 years, we picked right up where we'd left off. Even the kids bonded quickly even though onlyone of the five had any memories of the others.Because her husband had taken Reserve orders and was gone for the summer,I talked her into making the 10- hour drive to follow me home so our kids couldcontinue to entertain each other. Thefact that we hadn't seen each other in years had nothing to do with it.
We had about a week's break before reverse deployingagain. This time it was only for 2weeks. I drove for 12 hours in one day toget to my sister's house. By the way, Idon't recommend this on 4 hours of sleep.A few days later, I drove another 3-1/2 hours to take the girls to myin-laws, where they would stay for almost a week. We went a day early so the girls and I couldattend my mother-in-law's annual family reunion. It was the first time we'd attended. In 11 years of marriage, Stretch and I hadnever been able to attend due to distance.And the first time I attended (this year), I did so without him. Typical.
The kids and I made the drive back home earlier thisweek. This time, I made reservations atyet another military installation part-way back to avoid another 12 hourdrive. For the first time, I was wishingmy oldest (she's 8) was old enough to drive.
The summer flew by while the kids and I spent time with family and friends. We're waiting to hear teacher assignments and I've finishedbuying school supplies. School willstart next week. The summer is drawingto a close and the mission was accomplished.
Just don't ask me to drive anywhere anytime soon. Oh, and if anyone has seen my sanity, couldyou send it back to me?