Monday, December 5, 2011

Reintegration


So, today I had to spend three hours at an Army briefing about what to expect when your soldier returns from deployment.

If you've never had the pleasure of being part of an Army briefing, thank your lucky stars. They herd a bunch of people who don't want to be there (briefings are almost always mandatory, otherwise no one would show up) into a large auditorium or conference room, and then people from various departments talk to you about things that may or may not actually be important. Also, there will be Power Point. Somewhere along the line someone decided that you can't gather more than three people together in the name of the Army without having a pointless Power Point presentation. I think it's part of the oath when you enlist.

I used to have to give briefings to new company commanders when we lived in Germany. I often resorted to hurling hard candy at their heads to wake them up. There's nothing like a butterscotch to the eye to make power point slides suddenly seem really interesting.

Briefings involving the spouses are a little more entertaining. Soldiers' careers depend on maintaining a certain decorum in all situations. Spouses have no such requirement. Someone always gets their panties in a wad over something and makes a scene. Add in the stress of one's husband being gone for nearly a year to one of the more dangerous areas of Afghanistan and multiply it by 150 women and your briefing is suddenly a powder keg just waiting for a spark.

Today we had not one, but two wives who had be escorted from the room, and a third who screamed that it was discrimination against infertile couples to forbid her from bringing their dog to the hangar for the homecoming.

Good times.

Army wife drama aside, these are the things we learned that we can expect when our soldier returns home:

  • The routine you've created as a means for survival and maintaining sanity? He will completely destroy it.
  • He will want to eat All The Things for at least a week.
  • He won't be able to sleep for weeks. Could be jet lag, could be PTSD. If he tries to kill you, it's probably PTSD.*
  • He might try to kill you.
  • He will want to spend thousands of dollars on guns and cars. [I had to laugh at this one because Will's last few e-mails have been about buying guns and cars.]
  • Flying around war zones in helicopters while getting shot at is kind of a rush. He'll try to recreate it by doing things like going 100 miles an hour on a motorcycle without a helmet.
  • He'll want to buy a motorcycle.
  • Taliban insurgents are preferable to screaming, whining children any day of the week, so don't take it personally if he would rather go back to war than deal with your kids.
  • He will want to have The Sex all the time, but you will just want him to do the dishes.
  • Did we mention he might try to kill you? This Power Point slide has the number you can call if at any time he tries to kill you.
Not to worry. They also try to prepare the soldier before he comes home. Sometime in the next month he too will endure days of briefings where the main topics on the Power Point slides will be: "Don't kill your wife, your kids, or yourself," and "If you feel like you want to kill your wife, your kids, or yourself, call this number. Just know that seeking help might destroy your career, even though we say it won't," and "If you want The Sex, do The Dishes."

Golly, January just can't get here fast enough!

*I'm not trying to be flippant about PTSD. It's a very real and very serious thing, but that was almost an exact quote from the briefing.

**UPDATED! By popular demand, THIS and THIS are now available in my shop.



15 comments:

Jennifer said...

One: Do they really tell them to do the dishes if they want sex and can I get that slide?

Two: I have a brand new computer with none of my passwords saved, so when I clicked the little comment box, the second line said "Validate Me". Apparently my new computer is insecure. Poor thing.

Bennet said...

I really should make a sign that says, "If you want The Sex, do The Dishes." Then I should hang it over our bed.

Radhika M said...

"If you want The Sex, do The Dishes." :D :D :D :D

Clarkmomma said...

that's one briefing that I would like to have gone to, but not with my husband overseas. so what did the wives do that made them have to be removed?

Brandi said...

When they get back, they have to go into work the very next day and work for 7 days straight, even through weekends and holidays (part of this is because stuff needs to get done right away, part is to lessen the chance they'll kill you. really.) Anyway, one of the women flipped out over that--that they'd have to work for a week before block leave.
The other one was because the soldiers had to list contact info for the person they wanted to be notified when the plane was about to arrive. They sent out notifications about the briefing to those contacts as a test run. One woman was there because she heard about it from her neighbor. She never received the notification. Her husband listed someone else as the person to contact. Oopsie. When she found that out, she went berserk.

Geekgirl84 said...

Hahahaha. Jake and I laughed at all the points you made.

I wasn't with Mike by time he'd deployed. I can't even imagine the relief/chaos that comes with a homecoming. But I'm super excited for you. :)

BlueCodeRed said...

We never had a briefing for when Sam came back. I guess that the difference between the AF and the Army?

I like that quote though. I think I need a sign "If you want The Sex, do The Dishes".

Brandi said...

Lindsay--I think it's more the difference between 6 months and a year. Double the deployment, double the issues.

MJ said...

Can you have a giveaway for the frame? Can I win it please??? I just spent my Christmas present on a new teapot because I burned the one I had today and probably need to buy a new burner thingy, too. And I just got done telling my husband that if he wants any, the dishes are the way to go, and I'd be willing. It's like you read my mind.

Jared and Lydia said...

Wait - is your comment box asking me to validate you? That seems so very enabling.

That being said, I wish I could have been at one of those. For some reason, they didn't have one when Jared returned from his deployment (which was a year). Or maybe he listed another woman on his contact sheet. Heh heh. :-)

I might have to get me one of those If you Want the Sex, do the Dishes - or maybe just "If you Want the Sex, pick up your frickin' socks off the floor, stop asking the kids to pull your finger, and stop referring to my 'titties.'" I just can't abide by the word 'titties.' I just can't. It's just so wrong.

Bryden78 said...

I can't even imagine. Although, I don't know how long I would last as a solider OR an army wife so KUDOS!!!!

I would prefer the sign say..."If you stop being a jerk, you will get The Sex."

Pam the Realtor said...

This post brings back so many memories from when my husband would return from being at sea! We never had to go a year, so never got the briefings, but so much of the same stuff applies. I just remember thinking if I wasn't so happy to see him I would get nowhere near him because of the smell. He was on a sub and the smell was just awful!

Heather said...

Brandi,

I love that you can take a totally miserable experience and see a bit of humor- and I love the way you write!

It makes me cry just thinking of you (and all the other wives and children- and pets) finally having your family all together again.

Yep, January can't get here it soon enough!

Sylwia said...

forget the dishes! I want the sex!

Nemesis said...

Am late to the party, I know, but this was hilarious. Am trying to remember if my brother did any of these things when he got back from Iraq (and Afghanistan, and Afghanistan again). Am pretty sure there was a motorcycle involved.

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