When I was growing up, my parents would be the first to tell you that math was not my strong point. They literally would have to force me to sit down at the kitchen table and drill multiplication tables into my head. 4 X 4 = ?, 4X5=?, etc., and if I was a number or two off, I would raise an eyebrow at them and tell them that it was close enough and that when I was a "grown up" I would use a calculator - lol.
Once I finally got to college and I could figure out math on my own pace and schedule and in my own Melinda fashion, I did fine - and I also got straight A's. I also love the Excel spreadsheet program and use it for practically everything. This past Christmas, I used it to generate my Christmas list/budget down to the last penny . . . and I have been using it to calculate the amount of time that Al has left in his deployment with amazing accuracy and detail. Which in some ways is great, and in other ways, is awful. It's kind of hard - and I'm not meaning to use a pun here - to stick your head in the sand - and live in denial about how much time you have left, when you have a very colorful Excel spreadsheet staring you in the face telling you otherwise.
I had told y'all a couple little while ago that our next big milestone would be when we hit 274 days deployed / 270 days left to be deployed -- because that would officially be our 50% mark of our 545 days of our paper orders. Well, we hit that day on Saturday. You would think that I would have been jumping up and down and doing back-flips, but it was 'just another day'. Al and I have been borrowing time and counting ahead for awhile now, so we knew that day had been coming for weeks, so it was not really a big deal when it happened. And then when it "did" happen, it kind of felt like, "Oh my GOD, you mean that we are really only HALF way done with this??"
Anyway, I'm not trying to be negative, there's no point to it. But I do want other people reading this who aren't to this stage in their deployment yet know that you will hit this point - that there is a wall, and that there will be LOTS more of them. And you just have to get up the next day and paste another smile on your face and move on. The funny thing is, that if Al wasn't such a great guy, and that if I didn't love him so darn much, that missing him wouldn't feel so awful!! There are lots of marriages and relationships out there where the husband is dang happy to get deployed to Iraq to get away from his cranky wife and screaming kids for a bit -- and the same goes for a bossy, demanding hubby - I'm sure that wife is breathing a sigh of relief as she waves goodbye!
Church yesterday was really good. I thought I was actually going to get out of the building without crying big alligator tears for once, but then my Sunday School teacher in the last five minutes had to play a wonderful song about how much God loves us -- and about no matter how it "feels" at the time, that He never lets go of us. Yeah, great. There went the water works.
Here is the world famous "Doughnut of Misery", I can't take credit for it, unfortunately. Some gentlemen who were on "Sand Time" came up with it -- and I thank them for it from the bottom of my heart. I love it. I print a new one for myself every week. If you are currently dealing with a deployment, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be more than happy to send you the Excel spreadsheet so can torture yourself with your own. LOL. Please note that we are only 50% complete with our total orders and not our boots on ground time, we are only about 1/3 done with that. Yet another "milestone" to countdown!!
An Army Times article that explains a little more of the mystery behind the illustrious "Doughnut of Misery": http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-502237.php