Army guys get me hot: My Memorial Day Salute

Back in the dark ages of time, I met The Hubs online. And because this was the dark ages of time, The Hubs and I met on AOL Instant Messanger. Yes. I’ll say it again. AOL Instant Messanger. Anyway, before we even exchanged photos of each other, he played his ace in the hole and informed me that he wore not one, but two uniforms: As a Confederate reenactor (!) and as a soldier in the US Army (!!). I was sold. Seriously, one of my big, all time weaknesses is a man in uniform. I used to beg him just to leave his uniform on for a little…while…longer…ah, don’t even get me started on the old jungle BDUs. I. Melt.

Because The Hubs was in the Army starting from like, age 17 and was actually on deployment when we got married (yup, that’s me, the War Bride), Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day rank pretty high in our house. Now, I’m not going to stray into anything politic-y, because I’m not politic-y, but what I will say is that our house supports the miltary. Period. I’m also an Army Brat–my dad was in the Army–and I think that this explains why I’ve been known to get all googly eyed around men in uniform, as well as why the military plays a role in a lot of my writing.

I write historical fiction. I think the past in amazing, becuase it’s dirty, gritty, scandalous; all the biggies. History is going to cuss at you and then spit in your eye. I love that. I began to notice that a commonality between all my works in progress was that, in some way, the military (usually the Army) impacted the storyline. The plot might not always take place during a war; sometimes it starts right as the war ends. It’s just so interesting to me: the choices people are forced to make, the impact war has on the psyche, on society, on thinking. I love to build on that kind of thing.

The worst, most hurtful critique I ever got was on a piece I was writing about the end of World War II. The main male character had come home with his leg missing. My critque person ripped me apart. She told me there was no way a reader would ever feel compassion for him or have any desire to read a sex scene about him and the female character because he was a monster. Seriously. I mean, I know that’s just one person’s opinion, but that’s the kind of attitude that gets me all fired up. I felt the need to protect him. And on a happy note, I was fired up enough to keep writing. Maybe not to finish, but definitely to keep writing.

But I digress.

So, in honor of Memorial Day, I submit to you, fair readers, two brief stories of my own personal military mayhem:

In 2008, The Hubs and I went on vacation to Gulfport, Mississippi, to say goodbye to his dad as he was deploying with the Navy. Also vacationing in Gulfport that week was Hurricane Gustav. Our of concern for our general wellbeing, the Navy evacuated the family members to a concrete warehouse on the Navy Base, where we were treated to sleeping on Army cots, eating MREs, and seven port-a-johns for 500 people to pee in.

But what Heather Hambel Curley noticed was not the lack of toilets or the fact a hurricane was headed straight for us, but the fact that the major pecentage of individuals in the warehouse were millitary men. Army. Navy. Air Force. And I figured, if this was the time God had picked for me to die, what better place to spend my final hours than in a building filled with cots and men in uniform.

The Hubs did not find this funny. In fact, The Hubs just asked what I was blogging about and still doesn’t think it’s funny.

No, really, that’s a gift from God.

Oh, and the Hurricane missed hitting us by, like, 200 miles, so it was a lot of panicking and gratutious M&M eating for nothing.

As for the second story, well, like I said The Hubs was deployed when we got married. It was 2003 and we all remember 2003: Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Hubs was not in Iraq, but was part of a peacekeeping mission to Kosovo, which is actuallly still a war zone. The Hubs requested I send him…lets call them “Pin Up” pictures of me because he was “so far from home” and it “would mean so much” to him. And, of course, he promised he wouldn’t show anyone said “Pin Up” pictures. They were just for his eyes and, well, maybe one or two for his locker.

Fine. That, kids, was my part of the war effort.

So, a particular favorite of mine included these ridiculous camo cheek revealing hot pants I ordered from Fredrick’s of Hollywood. The Hubs called me shortly after he got it and said, “That picture of you in the shorts was really hot.”

“Well, thank you,” I said. “I thought it was pretty nice.”

“Yeah, all the guys think you have a nice ass.”

“Wait. What?”

“I showed the guys.”

“What guys.”

“You know, the guys.”

“As in, all the guys?”

“Well, it’s hanging on my wall.”

Well, it’s hanging on my wall. Yeah. Awesome. No, I was horrified. I was so horrified in fact, that I relayed the story to my mother. My Baptist, preacher’s wife mother, who responded with a shrug and, “Lesson learned.”

Sigh.

A few months later, I had the opportunity to fly to Bulgaria to visit The Hubs when he had a four day pass over Thanksgiving. Nothing says romance more than Eastern Europe, let me tell you. Since it was only a short amount of time until he was coming home, he asked that I take some of the bulk of the “Pin Up” pictures back home with me. He, of course, would keep his favorites and the ones still taped to his wall (to which my brain actually giggled and commended me for supporting the troops).

When it was time for me to fly home, I panicked at the airport that our souvenirs would get broken in my checked luggage and crammed everything into my carry-on. Everything, that is, except for the envelope of “Pin Up” pictures in the front zippered pocket of my suitcase. Wait to freaking go! And before you say it, yes, as a matter of fact I do know they checked all the pockets of my suitcase. You see, getting into the United States from another country is not easy. They search you. They pat you down. A woman who looked like Large Marge from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure but sounded like Arnold Schwartzenegger commanded me to “Stick oooout your aaaaahms like dis” with such authority, I almost peed. And after all that, the Luggage Police search your luggage and secure the zippers with red ties to show they’ve been checked.

I’m an international superstar. Word.

So, anyway, there for a year, I was a “Pin Up” girl in an Army Boy’s locker. And there’s definitely nothing wrong with that! But let’s talk about “lesson learned.” Lesson learned should be if you’re going to be bringing “Pin Up” pictures of yourself home in your suitcase, don’t be so dumb that you leave the pictures in the suitcase and instead put your tshirts in the carry on to “keep them safe.”

Honestly. Sometimes I amaze myself.

The Hubs says if he still had a locker, he’d still hang my picture on the door. Awwwwwwwww.

Apparently I’ll be Cornhole-ing

Is Cornhole-ing an actual word? Has anyone outside of Pennsylvania actually heard of this game? Is cornhole one word or two? All legitimate questions.

49er Boards by John Fischer For license information, see: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

So, apparently I’ve been drafted to a cornhole team. We’re competitive Cornhole-ing as a fundraiser. And yes, I know what some of you are thinking. And no, that’s not what Cornhole refers to. Cornhole, for the uninitiated, is basically a beanbag toss. I do not know why it’s called Cornhole. I’ve played it one time and, truth be told, sucked.

I was not gifted with eye/hand coordination. I’m the kid picked last for sports teams. I’m the kid who got mad at Super Mario Brothers and my inability to win, and threw the controller at the tv. I learned to drive backwards before I learned to drive forwards. This is the kind of skill I bring to my team. My team of two.

With fundraising on the line.

But let me tell you. What we lack in Cornhole skill, we are making up for in awesomeness. Sheer awesomeness. We’re Team ‘Stache, and not only will we have temporary tattoo mustaches on our index fingers-firmly displayed underneath our noses-but there is serious talk of matching shirts: “With great mustaches come great responsibility.”

We hope to win on awesomeness alone. In lieu of this, we hope to distract from our inability to Cornhole.

So, yeah, not much else going on with me. I ate a Twinkie yesterday. It was pretty amazing. I used my brute Momma strength and rearranged the living room on a whim. Also amazing.

Meanwhile, on the writing front, I tackled some horrific, awful issues with my first chapter. Two things happened: 1) the writing is tighter and 2) I made a heck of a lot more work for myself. I cut out like, three pages of flashback that added nothing but word count. Now I need to revise the beginning of the chapter so it makes sense, plus remember to sprinkle all that information throughout the rest of the plot–because it was actually important and was central to the main story line. It was just sloppy writing on my part; why vomit out the information and say, “Hey look, this is important” when I should reveal it as a more significant plot point later on?

Deep down, I know I should just turn off my internal editor and get the story out in its entirety. Then I can worry about the next seven hundred drafts I’ll do. But, man, it bugged me to the point it was becoming a distraction. And I’m easily distracted enough as it is, so we don’t need that. Nip it at the bud.

And finally, in an effort to continue fostering my writing kick this week, I’ve been wearing my hair in period hairstyles. Yeah, it’s weird. Yeah, I’m not terribly good at it. But I’ll tell you what: it’s helping. I don’t know if it’s just a change in my mindset or just the feeling of a hairstyle that’s not a ponytail (my signature ‘do). But it helped spark some writing. Whatever helps, eh?

And speaking of distracted, I just watched an infomercial for an (overly) expensive cd set called the 60s Music Revolution. Twice. Of note, Micky Dolenz is an abuser of the fedora. And I basically fell in love with every male singer onscreen. Twice.

I’ve Been Hot Doctor-ed

The day I had been dreading finally arrived. And quickly too; I’ll tell you what, it seems like it takes three years for the next pay day to get here, but doctor’s appointments and dentist appointments get here in some kind of quantum leap.

Hot doctor.

I was not looking forward to this.

As I strolled into the building, I glanced at the company listing board because I have this irrational fear the doctors office is going to move to a different floor and not notify me. And in that brief instant, I noticed beside Hot Doctor’s name was DO. Not MD.

Mother of god, what is a DO? If he’s a DO, does that mean he’s DO-ing me? What does this mean? How else could this go wrong?

In horror, I texted my girl Jossie back at work. “WTF?” I texted. I asked her the DO-ing question.

“Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine,” she responded. “Same schooling as an MD.”

Okay, good, so he has schooling and a license. It’s not time to panic yet.

They call me back way too fast. So after I get my blood pressure taken (low!) and weight checked (where did those two pounds come from?), the nurse rummages though a cupboard and hands me the ubiquitous paper gown (pink) and paper cloth lap…thing. She’s stuffily professional. “You need to stay dressed. The doctor will come in to speak with you. Then he will leave and you can get undressed.”

Wait, say again? I’m staying dressed? I panicked a little. “So just to confirm. I’m keeping my clothes on?”

She gave me an odd look. “Yes.”

Well this just doesn’t make sense.

Once the nurse is out of the room, I grab my phone and text Jossie. “I’m keeping my clothes on? He has to come in and talk to me? Does he know about the blog? Is he on to me??! WHAT’S GOING ON??”

Jossie: “LMAO.”

Hot Doctor knocks on the door and comes into the room. I stash my phone. I rip completely through the paper lap thing with my engagement ring. Smooth as always!

And….he’s not exactly Hot Doctor anymore. He’s more Moderately Attractive Doctor with a Distractingly Bad Haircut. Still, I don’t care what doctor you are, hot or otherwise, terms like “vaginal flora” are going to make me squirm. And yet, even so, I will look you dead in the eye and say, “Indeed.”

It was some kind of bizarre discussion of a medical form I filled out. It felt like a sobriety test. What are the names and ages of your kids? Where do you work? So you only drink on occasion?

Thank God the actual exam part was quick. But painfully awkward. Examples:

Moderately Attractive Doctor during boob check: “Did you breast feed?”
Me: (what I thought) Yeah, my boobs suck these days. This is why Victoria’s Secret is my secret, Captain Obvious. (what I said) Nope.

And when, prior to commencing the pelvic exam, he continued to talk to me, seated on the stool at the foot of the exam table.

It was was actually kind of hard to see him. And damn it, I hadn’t shaved my legs. It’s somewhat (not really) like when The Hubs and I were dating. The first time he put his hand on my leg, I had to apologize and admit I had only shaved from the knee down because, you know, “I wasn’t expecting this kind of thing.” He responded with, “You should always be ready for this kind of thing.”

Words to live by, kids. Words to live by.

Apparently I write about ham a lot

I did a spell check on my work email recently and it (understandably) flagged the word “hmmm.” The first suggestion Outlook gave me, however, was “hammy.” Really? Do I use the word hammy to such an extent that it’s now a top suggestion? Is that even possible? I guess I write about ham on occasion. I had an extended conversation about hamloaf. Gelatinous ham. A coworker and I pondered why when the heat was turned on the whole office smelled like ham.

Strange nonetheless.

So, yeah, last weekend was gloriously spent in Gettysburg. Love it. The Hubs even pulled over on Benner’s Hill for about 45 minutes so I could just sit in the quiet and write. If only every weekend could be like that! Of course, as mentioned previously, I didn’t work on the novel that I have outlined and planned out. No, that would have made too much sense. Instead I worked on the novel that only has two (now three) segments written. And it was awesome.

Keeping it fresh I guess?

If I can get The Rowdy Boys to bed within the foreseeable future, I may work on one. Or the other. I’m armed with a can of Arnold Palmer half tea/lemonade. Stand back, yo. I might make it to 11:30 without falling asleep.

And finally, in the “evidently I’m in mom-mode” department, there’s a “pamperpooza” at a local hotel this weekend, apparently for Mothers Day. When I first noticed the sign, I thought, cool, The Rowdy Boys wear Pampers. I wonder if there will be free samples and coupons or something. I wasn’t until several miles down the road that it occurred to me the sign was not about Pampers, but in fact being pampered. Not diapers. Relaxation.

Yeah.

So, Happy Mothers Day to all my fellow hot mommas out there! Pamper yourself. Pamper your children. But most of all, have a great weekend!

This is why I’m not getting any writing done

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Gettysburg! This is my happy place.

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Writing Workshop Win! Plus: Ice Cream Shop Hooligans

This week was both the start and finish of a writing workshop I attended online: The Character Arc. Basically, it was about focusing on the external events that push the storyline forward and the internal reaction each plot point causes. It was amazing! I outlined my entire work in progress, a feat which I have never before accomplished.

I’m literally in shock. For once, I have the bones of the piece all planned out. What’s been festering in my mind is now staring back at me from my notebook (because my laptop is broken. Now everything takes twice as long)!

So, it’s only appropriate The Fam and I did some historical outings this weekend that made me want to work on my other WIP. Because that’s how I roll.

While we were driving around Small Town America, seeing the history there was to see, we passed an ice cream parlor surrounded by-I kid you not-at least fifteen twelve year olds. They were causing a ruckus. Well, all accept for the kid with a cardigan draped over his shoulders. He was keeping a respectable distance and staying marginally unattached to either of the two swarming groups. I liked that kid. Someday that kid is going to be worth millions.

But I turned to The Hubs and said, “Where are the parents?”

He shrugged and said, “They’re out having fun.”

No, hooligans is what they are. They’re running in the road.

I remember being a teenager and my friends saying, “Wow, we’ll never be as strict as our parents.” And trust me, my parents were strict. I’m the goodiest goody two shoes around. But I think as a parent I might surpass even them! I mean, come on, the things I got away with! Kissing boys in the church kitchen! Climbing up the bell tower ladder and up on the church roof! To this day, there’s a lock on that door because of me and my friends!

Seriously though, I never thought I’d become my parents. I also thought I’d never be as old as my parents, but I digress. It is insanely hard to be a parent. I watched those kids screwing around by all that traffic, cell phones in hand, dashing around the parking lot. And I honestly hope my kids are like the cardigan kid. Out having fun, friends with everyone, and sweater in hand. I’m okay with that.

Oh well, enough worrying for now. Off to work on my non-outlined story. I’m such a rebel!

For more information on workshops like the one I took, you can visit http://www.rwa.org

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