Saturday, January 29, 2011

Insomniac Gardener

Well after another fun filled day (sarcasm) I have found myself unable to sleep. Again. What else is new?

Anyway, staring at the dark ceiling just wasn't working anymore. So, I've found something constructive to do with my ample time: Planning this years garden!

We bought our house in June 2008 and didn't really get unpacked and situated until early fall. We knew that when we bought a house we'd like to have a garden every summer, but the first year it was too late in the season. The summer of '09, my husband was off in the sandbox, and I didn't want one without him, so I held off again. Finally, this past summer we were able to plant a good sized garden.

We had 5 different types of modern and heirloom tomatoes, a few kinds of sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers, snow peas, lettuce, zucchini, eggplants, 2 kinds of onions, and we had a smaller separate plot for herbs.

It started out well, but we ran into so many problems that it ended a complete disaster in early fall. The problem was (still is) that we have a very dense clay soil. There had never been a garden here, so we had to remove unruly, weedy grass and then cultivate the soil. By hand. It SUCKED!

Another problem we had is the garden was planted adjacent to the side of the garage, so when it rained, our poor garden flooded. Every. Damn. Time. And it rained a LOT last summer in Ohio.

We dug trenches and salvaged what we could, but that clay is a worthy opponent.

Anyway, this spring we intend to redo the entire thing and make raised beds. I grew up having huge gardens, but never with raised beds, so it'll be another learning experience, which is fine. I'm a vegetarian so I would like to grow a diverse range of plants. I find myself missing the fresh, flavorful foods I got to enjoy last summer/fall. The stuff at the store just never tastes as good :)

So, in summation, if you have any advice on raised beds, gardening in general, or you'd like to suggest things for me to grow, I'd appreciate it!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The war never ends

The time leading up the deployment was tense. We didn't talk much and everything was so serious. He'd been through this before, I met him right after he came home, in 2004. I was 18 years old when I met this 25 year old soldier. He joined the Army in October of 2000. You know what happened the next Fall.

In early 2003, my soldier was among the first to fight in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was with the 4th infantry division in Tikrit. Saddam Hussein's hometown. A place where they still fervently followed their leader. 10 days before my soldier was set to come home, from this nearly yearlong deployment, his unit, along with another (around 600 people) captured Saddam Hussein.

That understandably made him feel like everything he'd been through had been worth it.

The day before my soldier deployed in 2003, his girlfriend at the time (another soldier in his unit) told him that she was pregnant. So he immediately took her to the courthouse and they got married. He says he was looking forward to coming home and being a husband, and a dad.

Fast forward 6 months, the baby is born. A baby girl who is a carbon copy of my soldier. K. Along with the pictures she sent him, of their newborn baby, she sent him an email (that I've read with my own eyes) that said (in a nutshell) "My baby will never know you. I hear on the news about all these guys dying, and I can't wait to hear that you died too. I'll get all that money" (death benefits, at the time about $400,000)

It turns out that when their reserve unit got called up to deploy, her and her mom freaked out (understandably) and devised a plan for her to get pregnant on purpose so that she wouldn't have to deploy. (Not so understandable) That way, they said, when he died, she'd be rich.

Another couple weeks went by, and at that point my soldier's number of confirmed kills hovered around 4 dozen. 4 dozen marks that my sweet, Christian solider feels will forever be on his soul. And he struggles with this, to this day, it still comes up. His wife exposed her truths, so he knew he had nothing to come home to. Fighting demons and fearing god, he drank a lot, over there.

One night when he was sleeping (in a tent, the barracks weren't even started there yet) a mortar round hit a tree about 15 feet from where he lay. It knocked him unconscious for a few minutes (he doesn't know how long) and even when he came to, he couldn't hear anything for hours. This is where he acquired his TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury, for those who don't know. It was described to me like a multiple concussion. It bruises your brain and changes things and effects everyone in different was. And of course there are different levels of severity.

My soldier has memory problems, anger issues, nightmares, headaches, tinnitus, he has this quirk where he'll tell anybody anything they want to hear (including me) and not mean a word. He wants to make people happy but he can't handle the follow through. He has trouble concentrating and common noises send him over the edge. He is distracted very easily, it takes time and sometimes repetition for him to process things people say or that he reads. He is impulsive to a dangerous point sometimes. there's so much more, but you get the picture.

Anyway, he never got help for any of this stuff, I knew nothing back then (18!!! I was a child)
about PTSD or TBI, or war, or getting help or LIFE. And I never knew how to get him the help he needed, he actually seemed to be improving. And to this day he tells me that I saved him. But that doesn't make me feel happy. It feels like a burden, because he wants me to keep saving him...

I cant write the rest now

Friday, January 21, 2011

just some random thoughts

The past few weeks have flown by, everyday is pretty much the same. Cold as hell, lots of boredom and the occasional night out. We're coming up on the one year marker of the end of my husband's deployment. That's hard to believe sometimes. It feels like he just got home. We haven't exactly re-adjusted to how it was before, but we have found a new normal. When you live with someone (especially after a year living alone) that has PTSD and a TBI, life just changes.

My husband is a truck driver in the Army, so obviously he spent the entire year+ long deployment driving in convoys in a war zone. This has made one facet of my life absolutely terrifying. Anytime he is driving, I am completely freaked out. He is a skilled driver, but he's always on edge, on a frustration level, he goes from 0-60 in about 5 seconds. He speeds, he white knuckles the wheel etc. The only time he drives like a normal person is when his daughter is in the car.

Another side effect of the PTSD is that he's pretty reclusive, I have to drag him ANYWHERE.
He has this newfound habit of always wearing a hat too, he practically hides behind it in public. He is so quiet now, I can rarely get him to talk. So, normal.