Some more steps forward – PCS Stress and how to handle it

Tick tock… the time draws closer. PCS stress is no laughing matter! Moving is a crazy time – moving continents and countries is even harder – especially with three big dogs in tow.

Yesterday was a very stressful and tiring day for all of us. The moving people came and took away 99% of our “stuff” (HHG – for the military inclined)
Dogs were pretty darn well behaved – just a few “outbursts” from Gina, which of course set Odin and Azzie off. They spent the first hour on the balcony, just so that they could get used to the moving guys traipsing around the apartment and carrying boxes and the sound of tape being used and things being dismantled and boxed up. Then they got to come out and greet the movers (who loved them, despite Gina’s gold fish memory when they were going in and out of the door, carrying and fetching) and they then relaxed with us in one corner. Husband and I took turns sitting with them, or going and Doing Things, or just taking a little break and stretching our legs.
I took them for a couple of walks (including a 30 minute walk in the early morning before the movers arrived) during the day, and one drive in the car in the BUCKETING rain – just to get them out, as they couldn’t stay on the balcony in that weather! The roads were rivers! I had my wipers on at their fastest setting and it was still almost impossible to see! It was scary, but strangely fun too. Dogs were great, except that when that stormed rolled in, there was violent lightning and thunder and Azzie was a complete wreck. She actually scratched at the balcony door and was shaking and whining and drooling in terror. 🙁 That’s when I took them for the drive – just so they could relax in the car (Azzie and Odin love my car: they feel safe) and get away from the stress of the apartment for a little bit. After that storm, even though it was calm again (just a little bit of rain) Azzie REFUSED (threw a complete tantrum) to go back onto the balcony, even if I sat with them. Eventually, around 7pm, the last box was taken down to the truck and we could close our door and settle in to the very bare and minimal apartment.
We kept the dog beds, and our bed linens, so the dogs had those familiar things to relax on and that helped with their stress levels. I couldn’t find their Rescue Remedy though! I am going to unpack my suitcase and backpack today and look for it. I know it’s there somewhere! I did pack it!

Otherwise, I am quite enjoying the minimal lifestyle that we are now living before the REST of our stuff gets packed (the stuff that flies over, so it SHOULD be there before the HHG) and then it’s just backpacks and suitcases for a few months!

I’m sitting here quietly, on the couch with my laptop on the coffee table, trying to be very quiet while the dogs snooze. There was very loud and constant range fire this morning on our long walk, and Azzie was once again a complete wet blanket. Poor thing. I think with all the stress of yesterday, and then the loud kabooms of today, she just couldn’t manage. She HURLED herself forward from the car and the whole way around and back to the car. Nearly pulled my arm out of the socket numerous times. She’s a strong girl and when she is scared/stressed she is even stronger! I’m not coddling her though – I know that just makes it worse for her – but I am trying to be “gentle”, with a all of them, after yesterday. They were really good, so I’m trying to be calm, serene, in charge for them today.

I really need another cup of tea though… and the loo!
I just don’t want to disturb Azzie, who is finally sleeping properly (no heavy breathing and drooling and shaking) after I closed the balcony door to stop her hearing the explosions from the range.

Ah, there we go.. she has stirred softly… now’s my chance!

Anyhoo – that was just a small update of things so far.

quiet days

Husband left on mission again early this morning – I had to drive him down to where they were being transported from, just before 0100. Took the dogs with, and Azzie (being the sensitive fur child that she is) picked up on my husband’s excitement and nervousness and impatience (the army does things in weird roundabout ways that take ages) and behaved like a complete crazy idiot. She leaped around and barked and whined and bashed into people and pulled me around. Husband lost his temper (not his fault – a lot going on) and couldn’t understand why she was behaving like that – I tried to explain that she was just picking it up from him, but he felt he was being calm and didn’t agree. On the surface he looked very calm, but she’s a sensitive dog, so she saw what was really going on inside him. This was proven when we said goodbye to him and headed back to the car – we were barely 10m away and she was suddenly calm, relaxed, walking easily on the lead with no pulling and no excitement. Hopped in the car just fine and all three dogs were quiet on the way home – heads out the window like usual – and they didn’t even bark at the MP and gate guards like they did on the way out.

So next time we go say goodbye or send him off somewhere and the dogs come with we will ALL be glugging some Rescue Remedy down 🙂

Dogs are amazing, really. Can’t hide anything from them.

The “silence’ experiment is going quite well: I’ve been walking them in near complete silence, with only positive remarks occasionally. I think that my tone when I speak all the time is perhaps confusing the dogs because my body language says something else, or my energy or something, I really don’t know. Or maybe it’s because by not talking I’m expressing my frustration/annoyance less, so it’s helping me remain calm? Could be a combination of all of that. We’ve encountered a few dogs in the distance and while my dogs have been interested (a bark from Odin, a small whine from Azzie and Gina puts her tail up and huffs) we’ve kept on walking without incident and with very little resistance from the dogs, even while the dog we’re passing by goes nuts on the end of their lead. We haven’t seen the Smug Man and his Husky recently: that will be the ultimate test for this experiment.

 

Now I have to get back into “mission mode” while my husband is away. I have to stop checking my phone for messages, and stop expecting to see him pull into our parking lot in Helga (our BMW) or hear his key in the front door lock. Will take a few days for me to sleep as well. Always does.

 

just some waffle, no cream

Odin and I went for our third run together last night. It was great. A little warm, but not too bad for him (or me) and he kept up nicely even after racing around in circles on the grass while I chased him earlier that evening. He had to stop and piddle a couple of times, and a little girl wanted to pat him as she’d “read all about him” apparently… not sure where, as I am not on Facebook and I don’t really post about my life anywhere but here… *shrug* but he was too “in the zone” by that point and he wasn’t interested in being petted by anyone (except me of course, because I have the treats in my pocket)

But otherwise, a really nice run. I felt good. Knee hurt like a bugger when we stopped though, and walking up the stairs was a killer. But I’ll push on through.

He keeps me going, and keeps me steady in my pace. I feel like I can for longer, and farther when he’s trotting along beside me. It’s a nice feeling. I do feel bad leaving the girls behind, but they just aren’t up for it, and Azzie gets WAY too distracted.

 

Had a bit of a silly incident yesterday morning – Odin lost his marbles for a few minutes (cat, small dogs, cars racing by on the road, barking Azzie, growling Gina… just general chaos) but it’s all good now. Was a bit heartsore afterward, as it showed me that we still have very far to go with Odin’s behaviour – thought we’d come quite a way, but progress is subtle I guess.

Still on my weight plateau. But I’m feeling in control, especially now that I am running again. Tried on some clothes that I got from a friend a while ago – when I was larger – and they all fit me so much better now. It’s great looking in the mirror and seeing the changes I’ve worked so hard to make. Started up my yoga too – I do it in the other room, while the dogs snooze after their long morning walk, usually. Taking it easy on the knee-intensive positions, as my knee really does take strain when I do certain moves, but otherwise, all good. I can do 10 push ups, too, and hold plank for 1 minute. Working on that.

What else did I want to waffle about?

I forget right now.

 

Oh yes! Our dates are set, tickets are booked, kennels are bought… Just have to collect them today – will be a tight squeeze, as it’s a GIANT sized kennel for Azzie! Now we just have some other arrangements to make, some things to cancel closer to the time we leave, and begin deciding what will go with us on the plane and what will be shipped (and be unavailable for 3 months) to our new duty station. I really want to get out of here (many reasons) and I know my husband can’t wait to get away from this awful unit. He’s got some friends, but even they know that it’s better to get out than stay here and wither away. Going to the States is a double edged blade, really. Conveniences, a proper address, I can work, but there’s the whole “it’s filled with Americans and on the verge of either collapse or civil war” thing… *shrug*

Where we’re moving is VERY hot and excessively humid pretty much all year round, so we’ll be shaving the dogs down – not to the skin, because I know that’s bad for double coated dogs, but just shorter, so it’s easier to manage, and easier for them to cool down. Thankfully, there will be air conditioning in the houses.

 

What else? Oh! I got to bust out my dusty sewing machine and skillz, to make a Peter Pan collar to attach to her store bought dress, for a photo shoot she did with her husband. That was cool. I felt useful. It came out very well and I was pretty pleased with myself.

 

 

And there it goes again

Hello Universe, it’s me, the crow. Not feeling very harmonious right now.

Could I ask a little question? Why? Why this time? Why now? When we were _so_ close to actually getting what we wanted. So close to the dream job. So close to the career path that would finally make him happy? Why shut it all down? Why slam the door in his face? Why let those idiots get the upper hand, once again? It was all on track. It was all go and things were finally looking up. Never mind the moving around, or the uncertainty of where we would end up – we didn’t care! We were just happy that it was finally coming together, finally on the right road, finally heading somewhere promising. The light wasn’t a train, it was the sunshine of a promising future at the end of a very, very dark tunnel that he’s (we’ve, really) been struggling through for years and years with this petty unit… but oh, no, wait, is that a whistle? Yeah. It was a train. And we have to dive for safety once again.
Not even going to go in to what this cryptic (to those who don’t know me/us/our lives) post is about – just needed to rant and vent and shake my proverbial fists at it all.

It hurts me right down to the bone. It breaks my heart to see how he finally let himself be positive, to believe it was all going to go right for a change… only to have it taken from him, one more time, thanks to incompetence and idiocy and sheer sneering small-minded crap from this unit. And human resources too… one moment it’s all go, the next it’s “oh no, it’s over” and that’s that.
So that’s it, Universe. We’re moving on from the whole idea. We’re setting our sights on what’s next, where to next, how we can get over this and through this and wash all the sh*t off from this whole experience. I’m still gnashing my teeth though. I’m angry for him. Angry at the Army. Angry at those who chose their own careers over helping someone who helps them (and everyone else) without any regard for what he gets out of it. Someone who tries his hardest at _everything_ he is given to do – whether he enjoys it or not. There’s no 20% with my man, he is 100% all the time for everything. And they just left him hanging, over and over again, because it didn’t advance them where they wanted it to. Only one person has tried to help and he has washed up against that brick wall of pettiness over and over again – but he keeps trying. He knows how amazing my husband is. What a great soldier he is. A great person. He knows how they have screwed him over so many times that any lesser man would have lost all measure of his own worth. But my husband gets up, brushes himself off, and says, “Is that the best you can do?” and puts his hands up again.
He’s a fighter – he never quits.
But he’s not stupid, and we now know that we’ve exhausted all avenues and jumped through every burning hoop and slashed our way through every red tape forest that was put in our path. We are moving on. Upward and onward. To better things.

Better things. Please.

and then it all changes again

I think I’ve waxed on about this point many times in other posts – military life means that you NEVER EVER know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.

My husband got news last night that his dream career in the army has COME THROUGH! Finally! The paperwork made it, at last, to the right place and got approved. After YEARS of struggling to get this done – being shut down and blocked by his unit over and over again – he finally jumped through the right hoops and crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s and IT’S HAPPENING! (He just told me now, this morning – there were things going on yesterday that made him wait to tell me as he didn’t want to stress me out more than he felt I already was) But of course now this means EVERYTHING changes. All the plans we were making for our travels back to the States are now, once again, in limbo. Does he leave in a couple of months? When does the school start? Where do we go? Or do we have to wait another few months here in Germany? And is it “we” or is it just him? Will HE go back for training and we stay here? Or do we all go together to the training place (not sure where/which one) and then move again when he is done and gets assigned to his new unit?

Plus we will most likely have a third dog, by that point. Odin will, as far as things are going now, be going to join us. It will be complicated – I will be doing the whole thing on my own, as my husband will still be away. And now this?

Interesting times. It’s all an adventure, right?

 

Procrastination, my old friend.

It’s amazing how many things you can find to do, to avoid doing something that needs to be done.

I even do laundry, clean the kitchen, and plan out dinner or bake something.

What am I avoiding?

Crepe de Chine.

It’s a magnificent fabric – soft to the touch, smooth and silky. And that’s the problem. It’s slippery and slinky and it HATES needles.

Luckily I ordered extra, just in case – as I have had to re-cut the sleeves. Their shape was completely off when I had finished.

I’ve never had to sew a silk fabric before. This is all a learning curve of massive proportions. I’ve done loads of research on tips and tricks when dealing with silk and other slippery fabrics – another way to put off actually DOING the sewing of it!

I now feel more ready… but of course, we are MOVING tomorrow. Of course. The wonderful military life.

Will take me another couple of days to set myself up again. At least I have a couple of weeks to do this. I want to do it RIGHT, first time around.

 

I’m such a damn perfectionist that I am driving myself nuts here.