Life of a Drill Sergeant's Wife

The cycle hasn't even started yet and already we have complications. Dear Hubby, my very own G.I. Joe, booked a surgery date for his knee today. A hockey player before the Army, that knee has been a ticking time bomb that is finally due for  fix. So our last cycle has just been cut short by a month. Hooah!

Almost time for the hubby's last cycle ... kind of like a teacher getting ready for the first day of class ... only, not really.

1/9/13 -- Week Zero, Day One

The day is here. Luckily the new class of Private's don't arrive until the afternoon, so Hubby got to sleep in -- which is a nice change for the start of cycle because when he sleeps in, that lets the rest of us sleep in! For a minute, we actually thought that would be a good sign.  So the morning plays out in typical morning fashion, only a bit smoother than normal, what with the extra time we have to deal with. Lunches are packed, diapers are changed, kids are carted off to school, dishes done, laundry started.

I don't go back to work until tomorrow, so I have a full day of kid-less, husband-less, distraction-less writing planned. We talk a bit on the way to work and I can tell he's getting antsy. He calls back once he arrives with the news that he is, in fact, on 24-hour duty today so he won't be home until tomorrow. Sheesh. What a way to start the cycle! Not that I am complaining, every soldier pulls their 24 hour shifts when it is their turn, I simply wish we had known before he left this morning. 24 hours apart always calls for an extra hug and kiss goodbye.

We have a tradition, though, and we started this tradition back at our first duty station in Vicenza, Italy. When he is on 24-hour duty, the kids and I always take him dinner so we can have a bit of time together as a family, even in the midst of the chaos of the Army Basic Training cycle. Of course, we aren't allowed to go in since family members aren't allowed to be around the Privates, so our family time takes place in the car. Tonight he has requested Shepherd's Pie. This, I must Google.

Week Zero, Day One... Still.

Sometimes I am amazing at the little quirky turns life takes. Life, heck -- even the twisty turns throughout any typical day in our house is enough to make me cry for Dramamine. All was going well. I hit my 30K word goal in A HEART AT HOME, book 3 of my historical romance series, An Everlasting Heart. I found an awesome recipe for Shepherd's Pie and got it all mixed up and baking before I left to pick the kids up from school. For a split second, I was on a sweet little roll.

I knew something was wrong when I walked into the school and found my eldest son asleep on the floor of his after-school classroom. He was really sawing logs, too. When I woke him up, he said he had the chills and wanted to take a shower when he got home to "wash the cold off". Then, his fever spiked.

Now I have seen some scary things in my life. I tracked mountain lions in New Mexico and caught and relocated troublesome rattlesnakes. I flew across the world with two young children -- alone. I counted bats, piloted a C-152 over an Alaskan glacier, and picnicked with wild buffalo and longhorn. But let me tell you, there is NOTHING in the world scarier than news reports about a superflu and your own sick child whose fever won't respond to analgesics. So instead of continuing on with our tradition of dinner in the car, Hubby was left to fend for himself for dinner and my boy and I made plans to visit the ER.

Remember the impromptu 24 hour duty? Times like this is when it really sucks. See when you have a tribe of children and one needs to visit the doctor or the ER, it's best to take just the sick child so you don't pick up a thousand other bugs for later. That's when the other spouse comes in handy, to watch said children in the safety of the home. Military families aren't afforded that opportunity very often.

Lucky for me, even though we're pretty far from home, we have a good little support system. Thank you to my sweet friend and her husband for taking care of my babies so I could take my bit boy to the hospital. Oh, and three hours later, it was deemed my little one did not have the flu, but a severely infected ear that somehow managed not to hurt. Only in my family can you lose a tooth and get an ear infection all in the span of twenty four little hours. 

Now time to watch some Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and go to bed.

Wishing you all a healthy night!

1/10/13 -- Thursday -- Week Zero, Day Two

There isn't much to report on today. Not because there wasn't anything fun or interesting or scary happening, but simply because Hubby wasn't at work. The one good thing that comes from having 24 hour duty is the following day is your day off ... or CQ Recovery as the Army puts it. So we can only hope and pray that things were running smoothly for our new recruits as the realization no doubt was hammered home with an early, early and less than cordial wake up call to welcome them to the Army.

1/11/13 -- Friday -- Week Zero, Day Three

I know, I know. I used the same picture again right above here. But given the events of the morning, I can't help but find it fitting.

Happy Friday. I vaguely remember Hubby kissing me goodbye this morning as he left for work ... at such an unholy hour, I could well have been dreaming.

Anywho, the day progresses on- filled with lost backpacks, missing shoes, and alarm clocks that didn't go off. Oh how it would help to have the assistance of a spouse in times such as these.

Finally, a call. It plays out something like this.

HIM: "Good morning!" Crash!

ME: My brows furrow. "Good morning. How is your day?"

HIM: Crash! "Great! Want me to call and wake you up after PT again this cycle?" Crash!

ME: Hmmm. "Yeah, that'd be great. We were running short on time this morning."

HIM: Crash! "Well I will do that tomorrow morning." Crash, crash! "Just had a minute and wanted to call and say I love you." Crash!

ME: "I love you too, but what is that horrible noise in the background?"

HIM: "Oh that? Well, the PVTS are downstairs waiting to go to breakfast chow and it is windy up here in the bay. So windy that their wall lockers keep blowing over." Crash!

ME: Groan. "Oh Hubby, you can talk plain with me! Just tell me you're tossing their wall lockers! No need to hide it in all that windy talk."

HIM: Crash! "Oh I did toss 'em this morning. Figured that would have taught them to lock their wall lockers. Guess not all of 'em were paying attention." Crash! "But now, it's just windy from Hurricane Drill Sergeant blowing through, heh heh heh!" Crash! "Well, hurricane's over. Time to go to breakfast chow! Bye!"

Thank goodness it's Friday.  Well, for some it is Friday ... for other's it is the beginning of nine weeks of Hurricane Drill Sergeant.


1/12/13 - Week Zero, Day Four

Since his day starts so horrifically early, when I woke up at 6, I already had a message waiting for me. This is what happens when a Drill Sergeant is dared to jump a water-logged ditch on the way to the first PT test of the cycle.

His wet and muddy day didn't end until about 9 pm, so not long after that, he met us at the motel, complete with a wicked cough and sore throat. The "Joe Crud" as it is called usually doesn't hit until halfway through red phase. Not so this time.

Wait, motel, you say?

Oh yes, someone in our town thought it would be a good idea to drain the water tower and "fix" it, so we lost water in the afternoon. Talking to myself, I swore, "If that water isn't back on by 4 pm, we're going to a motel!" Of course, about a thousand little voices chorused, "YES YES YES!" So we packed a bag and by the time we were leaving for the motel, the water was already back on. But there was no sense in rearranging chairs on that sinking ship, so we went with it.

We swam in the heated indoor pool, froze on the way back to the room, ordered pizzas and cokes, raided the snack machine, and watched TV long into the night!

1/13/13 - Week Zero, Day Five

Watch out world, the newest set of recruits in the US Army are now armed. Dear Hubby has issued their weapons to them as of now.

Running on next to no sleep with four kids who are running on next to no sleep, today has been trying. It has for Dear Hubby as well, with his impending respiratory infection.

Sheesh. The end of this cycle can't come soon enough already.

1/14/13 -- Week Zero, Day Six ... doesn't it kind of suck that this week doesn't even count enough to be numbered, yet some totally important stuff is going on??

So my G.I. Joe was home very late last night, and so sick he could hardly talk, let alone breathe. Being out in this wicked cold wind we have blowing through (following that one 70 degree day) is really kicking his camouflaged hiney. Ours will be kicked in time, since now I have his cough as does little Sun 3. So he came in (finally), I slapped a rag soaked in apple cider vinegar on his chest (as per my Amish cookbook) and halved an onion and put one piece on each side of our bed.

Amazingly enough, his coughing stopped only a few moments after the rag of vinegar ... but BOY did it stink up our room! It was so pungent, I could feel my scratchy throat soothe from across the bed!

Sun 2 wandered in at some point and woke me up yelling, "Daddy stinky! Daddy stinky!" That apple cider vinegar smell had him all sorts of perturbed!!

You may be wondering what kept Dear Drill Hubby at work so long. If I had been paying attention to the time instead of watching Mowgli's Brothers with the kids and doing bedtime, I know I would have been wondering. ;-) I have to be very careful what I put on here for OPSEC reasons (Operational Security) but suffice it to say that in times of severe physical, mental, and emotional stress (such as Basic Combat Training), some people can break. It is always the right thing to reach out for help, even if it is to a  mean ole Drill Sergeant ... and even they will stay long into the night to make sure you're taken care of.

Now, onto today! This morning played out like this:

ME: Good morning Monday, you beautiful day you!

MONDAY: Slap, kick, punch, whirlybird, spit

ME: *sob, whimper, sob*

But here we are. Dear Hubby is on top of the obstacle course tower today in this nasty cold wind and I really fear for his lungs. Hopefully he won't get into a coughing fit and accidently push any PVTS off the top!!

So long for now!

1/15/13-- Week Zero, Day Seven. Tomorrow we start week one, yay!

So it is my second day back at work following a three-week break and I am already wishing I worked part time instead of full time. Silly, huh? We need the second income ... it's nice not having to stretch every last dollar and live paycheck to paycheck but let me tell you this. On days like today, it would be worth it to get to stay home with my babies. Okay, enough griping out of me. On to Basic Training.

Today, the PVTS were briefed, briefed, and then briefed some more. Drill Hubby, however, needs to see a doctor. Poor thing is so chilled, he came home early, put on a sweatshirt and sweatpants and went to bed. Red as the proverbial tomato, he has fever -- and something tells me his ISN'T an ear infection!

Any idea how to make a Drill Sergeant go to the doctor?  I'm open to suggestion!!!

Time for Dr. Quinn and bedtime 'round these parts!


1/16/13 -- Week One, Day One

Say hello to the newest member of the Western Writer's of America! Yee-haw!!

Our group of Privates have been in briefings all day long today, probably a nice way to start Week One! Once again, Dear Drill Hubby is on 24-hour duty. True to our ritual, which is a little harder to swallow in a Jeep Wrangler than it was in a three-row minivan, we took dinner to Fort Sill tonight. I made beef stew, which was rather delicious, even for this flex-itarian! My daughter's cornbread was pretty delectable, too!

*A flexitarian is a vegetarian, mostly :-)

Unfortunately, on the way to post, the road proved to be more than a little bumpy in a standard vehicle. Perhaps the stew would have survived, nestled there in its triple-foiled bliss amid the safety of the floorboard. But it couldn't survive the attack from above ... my sweet little girl stuck her foot right down in it. Luckily, no foot ever met the meal, but she did enough damage to mutilate the cornbread and splash out the stew broth. Luckily for Dear Hubby, I brought him a Dr. Pepper, too.

Once we got to post, Sun 3 was about climbing out of his skin to get to his "Da-da". Once unbuckled, he climbed right over the seat in all his almost-two-year-old glory and right into the waiting arms of Da-da. Privates flitted about here and there, and Sun 3 celebrated seeing Da-da's new class of Private's by knocking his Drill Sergeant hat off. Twice.

And his Dr. Pepper is STILL in my Jeep.

Now the stories are read, cookies are decorated and put away for lunch tomorrow, and kids are asleep. I think I will join them.



I haven't updated in awhile and I am so sorry for that. Things in Basic Training have gone from scary to strange to just a plain big ole befuddled mess.

The SICKNESS swept through our house like the plague through the streets of London. There was vomiting, there was diarrhea, there was fever. And remember, I have four children. Then drill hubby brought home the JOE CRUD.

The Joe Crud is an interesting ailment affecting drill sergeants and their families the world over. It comes from Privates, living in close quarters who do not get enough sleep to keep their immune systems up. Without fail, the Joe Crud hits every cycle and spreads from them to the Drill's to the families. Thank goodness, only a few more days.

Wait, what?  Oh yes, Hubby is having surgery on his knee on February 5th and will then no longer be a drill sergeant. Shortly thereafter, he will be getting out of the Army all together, so whoo hoo!  Eight years and his time has come to be a civilian!

Now, where was I ... oh yes.  While the PVTS have been doing wonderfully in their PT exercises, their personal problems have spilled over into the group as a whole. If you pray, I humbly ask that you keep these new soldiers in your prayers.

As I have said before, suicide is NEVER a way out. It is simply a permanent solution to a problem that is temporary. The threats/attempts are growing with each cycle in a frightening trend with equally frightening speed. The attacks on Drill Sergeants is on the rise too. Can you imagine a recruit assaulting the Drill Instructor from Full Metal Jacket (well, besides at the end ...)? It happens and it is much more commonplace than one might think. Please, prayers for all involved.

The vast majority of the Privates are growing, learning, and succeeding though and my dear husband STILL receives emails from Privates of Yester-Cycle who have gone on and wished to thank him for his teachings during Basic. Those are the majority that make hearts glad. The minority, like those mentioned above, are the ones who make hearts break.

Until Next Time .... Hooah!

February 24, 2013

Hubby is still home on convalescence leave from his knee surgery which went well, considerably. His heart rate did something funny, but he came though it alright. Repaired a torn meniscus, realigned the dislocated knee cap, and released it (?) since it was too tight and a hairline fracture that has to heal on it own.

Now here we are, finally off crutches. The doctor did have some disheartening news. There is next to no cartilage left in his knee and arthritis has already set in (or Arthur as my Non would call it). A full knee replacement is on the horizon, the question is how long it will be before it happens. His guess was anywhere from 3-10 years. Suppose this rules out firefighting as a career choice after the Army.

Time to turn things over to God and let Him steer this boat from here on out!


  1. Sara! We miss you in Clay County!


    1. I miss you guys and think of you often, Marianne!!! <3


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