Welcome to the Wandering Drays!

Not all who wander are lost...

Welcome to my blog dedicated to my family and our crazy foreign service life. Never content with staying in one place, we are excited to share our journey. We've survived two unaccompanied tour (Baghdad 2010-2011 and Baghdad again in 2015-2016), multiple TDYs, and enjoyed a two-year family assignment in Cairo, Egypt. The fab hubby is currently learning Turkish for our next assignment...Istanbul, Turkey! We leave for Turkey sometime in summer 2017. I write about what I know. Which is mainly kids, tween drama, gross pets, dealing with lots of government info, our moving adventures, being a nurse, yoga, running, living on too-little sleep, and an addiction to coffee lattes. I hope you'll enjoy this glimpse into our lives.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Six Months Down...Six MORE to Go...

I know that the big buzz on the FS blogosphere right now is the proposed pay cuts to FS employees.  And I am concerned - even posted a nice little Washington Post article on my Facebook feed.  But...

I'm in my own selfish world right now.

In less than two days my husband will be on a plane headed back to Iraq.  No idea if he can even get into the country at this point (yet another issues I should be following - the increased violence in the Middle East has spilled over into Iraq.  As if it wasn't bad enough there already).

Jason with our little man.
I've enjoyed some 15 lattes since Jason has been home.  We hit Starbucks hard!  A few nice meals out, and a couple lovely evenings cooking together.  There have been two snowstorms, and I was so glad that Jason was here to shovel while I snuggled under a blanket on the couch with a cup of coffee.  We've gone shopping with the kids, bought them some shiny new toys and a few new clothes.  Jason got to meet his son (our 4-month old Kellen) again.  First thing he did was teach Kellen to blow raspberries.

We've discussed Cairo - over and over again - will we still go?  What are our options if it doesn't return to normal?  And we talked future dreams - what other countries will we live in or visit someday?

We tossed around the idea of sorting through 'stuff' that we need to sort through before we move in August.  But that project, along with so many others, fell by the wayside.  As I sit here typing this,  I am surrounded by some of that 'stuff' that always seems to pile up in the house.

I all but forced my husband to accompany me to doctors' appointments (my follow-up with my surgeon post-colonoscopy; Kellen's 4-month well-baby visit) and I made him go to the dentist.  Imagine how smug he was when it turned out HE had the perfect bill of dental health while I had a cavity that needed filled.  I got that cavity filled under valium-induced giggles;  post-filling, he drove me home shaking his head.

Tonight he is visiting some friends and I managed to get all three (!!!) kids to bed by 9:00pm. It's quiet here, save for the hermit crab rustling around in his cage.  Gross.

Tomorrow we have a lunch with Owen's Cub Scout's Troop and we plan on just hanging out at home in the evening.  I want so badly not to think about the following morning.  THE morning in which I drive Jason to Pittsburgh to drop him off at the airport, chin-up, forced smile, a casual 'see ya soon'.  I know my tears will flow, but not until after I drop him off.  My very good friend Nikki has already planned a girls' shopping trip on Monday to the outlets -- she remembers how hard it was for me when last I dropped the hubby off at the airport.  I can't thank her enough for being here for me.  We'll meet up with another girlfriend, Suni, in Cleveland and talk work and babies and dogs (they both have dogs, not kids!) and they'll try to get me to forget about the icky, achy feeling in my chest.  I really have the best of friends.

Then it's back to the day-to-day on my own.  Kids up in the AM, get them to school, wipe the baby spit-up off my shirt, do laundry, do dishes, go to work, shovel snow.  Kids to bed, take a shower, crawl in the lonely bed and try not to think about how we still have six more long months...

Now I take a deep breath, and let it out.  Need to put everything back into perspective.

We've come this far, and even though it hurts - and it really does hurt - we are doing well and have so much to look forward to.  In fact, I calculated it out, and we only have 10 weeks until his next leave.  That's just 70 days.  And seeing as how we have done nearly a full year's separation (he was in DC March thru August last year while the kids and I stayed in Ohio BEFORE he left for Iraq), 10 weeks really isn't all that long.  Not in the grand scheme of things.

It's been a great 2 1/2 weeks with Jason home.  Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish we could stay here 'normal' with him at home.  We have a nice house, a beautiful family, great friends.

But if he stayed here, we'd go back to what it was before he started this career, and that's not what we want.  We wanted this new life - to travel, to discover, to grow.  This separation is just part of the process and we're putting in our dues.  Six months down, six more to go.  And then we're on to a grand new adventure.


  1. Heather,
    I have been reading your blog the last little while. Just have to say that you guys are awesome. I really admire how you dig in and just keep going. Thanks to all of you for your husband's service.

  2. My wife is the strongest person I've ever met, hands down. I have the easy part, heading off to Iraq or Singapore or God-knows-where, and she has to be the one that is "left behind."

    For that, she has my admiration, and she has my adoration.

  3. The above was (obviously) written by my amazingly strong husband. I'd say his part is a far cry from easy. We all have our own hardships to face. But I'm glad we're in this together.