Last week I wrote my deployed husband an email expressing various events, emotions, and challenges. I admit, I was emotionally needy and effusive. It's not what a guy wants to read at the end of his 12-hour groundhog day, to be sure. But I laid bare my concerns, sought input and requested counsel. I reached out into the ethernet for some partnership, some companionship, and possibly some laughter - some connection - something.
My husband's electronic response announced: "See below." I scrolled down. At the end of each of my carefully worded paragraphs were his contrasting-color comments (in Navy blue, of course). And by "comments" I actually mean single word phrases. The response to paragraph #1 was "yes," paragraph #2 was "cool," and paragraph #3 was ... wait for it ... "mind over matter."
I stared. I blinked. I had PTSD-like flashes of R&R and his distant, shark-eyed moments. I flashed forward to imagine homecoming. And I did what any girl would do. I took matters into my own hands, and I issued an OPORD. That's right. It's time he started thinking about how this is all going to work out. And me too.
I have a feeling this one is going to get me in trouble ...
SBU – Sensitive But Unclassified
Copy 1 of 1 Issuing HQ: CIVHOMGRU WEST LAT 45° 31' 24N, LONG 122° 40' 34W
OPERATION ORDER “PULL CHOCKS”
Civilian Home Group, West (CIVHOMGRU) has recently identified threat MILBRAIN, a condition which hinders communication and family reintegration, and which requires immediate and ongoing resolution. Current unit is composed of civilian leader MOM, two rogue operatives, and DAD. DAD is oncoming commander at expiration of MOM’s current tour of duty, scheduled for Change of Command in 30 – 90 days.
A. Enemy Forces. Known and suspected causes of condition MILBRAIN include severe indoctrination of DAD into military life at round-the-clock intervals, complicated by heightened need for compartmentalization and deadening of emotional receptors. The indoctrination includes extreme armored, mechanized, and motorized emotional-blocking responses which appear to be temporarily incapable of destruction. Intel on effective methods for piercing the indoctrination barrier is weak, at best. Strength of the enemy’s fortification is at highest levels known throughout MOB 2010-11, and morale at CIVHOMGRU is consequently low. However, resiliency and capability of both the operatives and Commander MOM are high.B. Friendly Forces. Prime objective is to ensure DAD can identify CIVHOMGRU as a friendly force, not an enemy force, by engaging them both physically and emotionally. However, if treated as an enemy force, CIVHOMGRU can become unstable, and is likely to fire upon, maim, kill, and take prisoners in its defense.
PREPARE FOR REINTEGRATION OF DAD INTO CIVHOMGRU BY (1) DISINTEGRATION OF MILBRAIN; (2) INTRODUCTION OF COUNTER-COMPONENTS DADBRAIN AND HUSBANDBRAIN; (3) REINTRODUCTION OF CONCEPT “FEEL”; AND (4) SUPPRESSION OF DICTATORIAL HIERARCHY, OLIGARCHY, AND MISOGYNY. ACCOMPLISH NLT HOMECOMING 2011, WITH GOAL OF FOSTERING MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF THE FAMILY UNIT AND AVOIDING ANY FURTHER LOSS OF SPOUSAL CONSORTIUM.
A. Concept of the Operation. Faced with challenges to familial and spousal security interests after a long mobilization and separation, there are certain effects-based actions and responses which members of the team can employ to connect their differing strategic and operational objectives. Through the integrated application of select instruments of power, DAD will become capable of identifying desired and undesired outcomes in the CIVHOMGRU operational environment (OE). It is the intent of OPERATION PULL CHOCKS to separately prepare all members of the team for the next operational phase, tentatively identified as OPERATION REINTEGRATION.
1. Maneuver: Prepare to Interact
MOM, Operative-1st Born and Operative-2nd Born will each practice elimination of all expectations related to basic everyday interactions. This will be accomplished by standing in front of a brick wall and attempting to engage it in conversation, elicit sympathy and/or compassion, and attempting to get it to respond to external stimuli, touch, and/or tears.
DAD will increase situational awareness of social and nonverbal communications of others. This will be accomplished by standing in front of a mirror, making eye contact, and replacing common MOB phrases with HOME phrases:
|MOB PHRASE||HOME PHRASE|
|“IT IS WHAT IT IS” and/or“LIFE’S A BITCH”||I’m sorry. There’s not much I can say about that. Is there anything I can do to help you?|
|“MINDOVERMATTER”||I’m right there with you. Let’s get through this together.|
|“WILCO/LIMACHARLIE”||I understand what you’re saying. Do you want my input?|
MOM, Operative-1st Born and Operative-2nd Born will each take turns yelling barking orders at each other. The non-barking members will practice a response that does not include crying. Upon successful containment of tears, team members will also attempt to respond by not feeling insecure, not becoming scared, not becoming angry, and finally by responding with a sarcastic, “YESSIR!” followed by an immediate hug for the barker, who may respond with an awkward back or head pat.
DAD will relearn proper human responses that engender connection and genuine relationship. This will be accomplished by standing in front of a mirror, making eye contact, and performing the following facial-neutral or facial-friendly maneuvers in 15 second intervals:
- Raise eyebrows
- Open mouth and tip head to one side
IV. SERVICE SUPPORT
A. General. The critical supporting actors and services required to sustain the unit during this operation include:
- Chaplain/Exit Counselor/Successful Mob Retirees
- DAD’s emotive alter-ego which has been suppressed for the last year
- MOM’s non-controlling alter-ego which has been suppressed for the last year
- Operative #1 and Operative #2’s obedient alter-egos which have been suppressed for the last year
1. Class I (subsistence): Fine Dining establishments, wine bars, candlelight or sunset/view venues.
2. Class II (individual equipment): razor, aftershave, deodorant, mouthwash, elbow crème, and civilian clothing.
3. Class VII (major end items): flowers, jewelry, chocolate, hand-written notes or cards, and perfume.
In preparation for such availability of services, DAD may spend time on the internet reviewing what these items look like, how they are utilized, and where they can be obtained upon delivery to the assembly point.
C. Medical Evacuation. In the event the operation produces wounded personnel, they will be picked up and carried to safety by all remaining non-injured team members. No man, woman, or child shall be left behind.
V. COMMAND AND CONTROL
Because of the continuing mobilization of DAD, there will be two primary locations of command and control prior to OPERATION REINTEGRATION. CCC#1 shall be at home, and CCC#2 shall be at the location of mobilization. The unit commanders are expected to operate in a JOINT ENVIRONMENT for all theater, operational, and tactical maneuvers, and to balance the COG for the split CCC’s.
A. Command. The higher unit commander is GOD. If you suffer from the delusion that you are GOD, then knock it off. You are not. Your spouse and children are not subordinates, they are your support. They will not respond desirably to orders unless delivered in the methods described in this OPORD and the BHICCFG (Basic Human Interaction and Common Courtesy Field Guide).
B. Signals. This operation specifically prohibits use of the following signals: silence, thousand mile stare, dirty looks, shark-eyes, loss of consciousness during conversation, and drama (aka “pyrotechnics”) of any kind. Challenges and corresponding passwords to verify operations behind both friendly and enemy lines include:
|Challenge Phrase||Password Response|
|Daddy?||Yes, what is it?|
|Good morning||Good morning|
|Good night||Good night|
|How Do I Look?||Amazing. Breathtaking. Phenomenal.|
|Will you take me out?||Yes, I’d love to|
|I missed you||I missed you, too|
|I’m so glad you’re here||I’m glad that I’m here, too|
|I love you||I love you, too|
MOM, COMMANDER, CIVHOMGRU WEST
(If you'd like a generic version of this OPORD to send to your hubby in a late-deployment care package, email to a friend, or take to a spouse event, just click on THIS LINK and scroll to the bottom of the page. You must be able to view pdf files. Have fun, everyone!)