Saturday, April 24, 2010

How the Bluegrass Belle Becomes a Georgia Peach

Wednesday afternoon went a little something like this:

Setting: Home office of Chez Miller. Monsieur Miller has been working diligently and tirelessly on resumes, cover letters, and repeated job searches. Madame Miller is beading, glazing, and generally trying to fit round pegs into square holes. Smooth jazz plays softly in the background (I'm so not joking about that).

The clanging of Neal's phone nearly sends us both into heart failure (this is completely my fault. He used to have a gong as a ring tone, which he never heard...especially when I was calling for something his shirt size. So, he changed it. If anyone ever finds us dead in our house with Neal clutching his G-Zone'll know what has happened and that it really is all my fault.)

I hear a bunch of "uh-huh," "I see," "Oh, that's nice," and "Hm. Yes ma'am, OK" before I finally heard "well let me talk it over with my wife and I'll get back to you!"

So, now you know as much as I did. And just for effect, Neal will be in regular text and I will be italicized (mostly because I think italics adds drama with a slant of elegance and what Neal probably does not need right now is to be referred to as elegant).

What was that about?
It seems this lady is desperate to fill this AGR captain's slot.
AGR? I thought you weren't even eligible for AGR. That's what they told you last week. (PS: AGR = Active Guard/Reserve)
I guess desperation does funny things to a person. She needs to fill the slot.
Where is it?
Macon, Georgia.
(In my head, I have started doing the little Joey-from-Full-House Dance of Joy). Really? Macon? Georgia? When?
Well, it seems my report date would be May 17th.
That's.....SOON. That's only 2 weeks after Derby! (Because that's how we roll in Kentucky. Everything is calculated by the first Saturday in May. I'm gonna miss that.)
Um...yes. But that's not all. This unit is set to deploy in December with a month of training in June.
Awesome. (I think there was a fair amount of eye-rolling here. My mother would have been so proud.) Like a year-long deployment? Overseas? In the sand? With sandstorms and tents?
Lucky number 3. I did it before, I guess I can do it again. At least my laptop has a built-in webcam now.
So, yes? We're going to do this?
What do you think?
Then yes. I'll go find some boxes.

Now granted, I have graciously omitted about 9 hours of discussion regarding the house, a baby, a deployment, and whether or not we're going to keep the hammock...but that's it in a nutshell. Between Wednesday and Friday, I drove Neal to the point of justifiable homicide trying to get exact dates and plans. The only thing the Army doesn't have is an unchanging plan. Neal gets this. I am still fighting it after all these years.

So, here's where we are now: we have to report to Macon on May 17th. If you don't count today or the weekend we're driving down, that's 20 days from now. We are going to be out of town for various things for 15 of those days. If you've had new math, you can deduce that we have exactly 5 days to pack the house. Six feet over the line, Sweet Jesus. How are we going to do this? Oh, I know! I'll just sit down and blog. Neal's drilling anyway. And then I'll watch an episode of Cagney and Lacey and make one more run to Hobby Lobby before camping out and making jewelry to wear next week.

Translation: I am so overwhelmed, I have no idea where to even freaking start. So, maybe I'll just not....

We head down next week to check out housing on Robins Air Force Base, which we've heard is well worth the look-see. Once we know if we'll be in a house or an apartment, we'll be able to determine how much stuff we need and/or want. This is all complicated by the fact that if I'm pregnant in December when Neal deploys, I'll come back to Kentucky to deliver at UK again. So, then what? Do we still sell the house? Do I rent an apartment? Do I move in with my dad? Oh...scratch that last one.

We are about 5 steps into a 20-step process and this is about the time that I'm just waiting to find a vial next to the bed that says drink me. However, many awesome things can come of sister lives four hours south of Macon (and she is about to come unglued at the seams she's so happy), we will only be 90 minutes south of Atlanta, and 4 hours west of Hilton Head (I was thinking last night about how we could actually go to Hilton Head for the weekend. *Gasp*). But we will go through another deployment, we will have to try to sell our house from 7 hours south of it, and Neal may miss the delivery of his second child. So, sacrifices? Yes, we will make a few.

I will try to update as often as possible. I think this is a very exciting, yet overwhelming new chapter in our lives and if I don't get to write about it, my head could spin right off my body and crash into the kitchen cabinets. I also think that if I don't pack at least one box today, Neal will deny me my cupcake craving. One box down....many, many, many more to go. I remember when I used to move in milk crates and big, black, garbage bags....

Friday, April 23, 2010

Champagne Friday and the Top 1

Where, oh where, has my lil' Ally been?? Losing her mind one step at a time, I would say.

Happy Champagne Friday! It looks like Neal and I are about to become Georgia peaches! More to come this weekend as things finalize...but for now...come find me at Shana's @ Fumbling Towards Normalcy and pop a cork on this finally-sunny Friday afternoon! I would drink with you but I am still a smidge drunk from yesterday's racetrack indulgence.

So, find me at Shana's, give her a follow (because she seems to be working right across the street from Orlando Bloom's new pad *gasp*) and I'll meet you back here tomorrow for story time.
Mrs. Peach

Friday, April 16, 2010

Champagne Friday and the Top 5

It's here, it's here, it's finally here!! Happy Champagne Friday, everyone! I am actually going to have champagne tonight (last Friday was Wild Turkey Reserve Bourbon Friday because it's what we still have plenty of around this joint. Champagne Friday makes me want to put on a skirt with a petticoat and skip barefoot through the yard. Wild Turkey Reserve Bourbon Friday makes me want to pull the blinds closed and listen to Johnny Cash while I pick at the scab on my knee. So, yes...I have a preference.)

Champagne Friday brought to us this week by...

5) the 6AM Spinning class I subbed for the gym owner on Thursday morning (after teaching a 7 PM class on Wednesday night). Considering I don't usually go to sleep until 2 AM or so, I seriously considered staying up all night. But sometime around midnight, I closed my eyes for like 2 seconds and I was OUT. Sweating before the sun came up wasn't so was the getting vertical after 5 hours of sleep that was the most miserable. But it allowed me to sip on bubbly tonight, so I'll take it. Life is a series of cause-and-effect...and then you die.

4) This week, BFFEE Curly Sue announced to me that she had a run-in with a Bunny Boiler. Apparently, there is a scene in Fatal Attraction where Glenn Close boils somebody's pet bunny out of revenge. So now, Curly Sue refers to these psychotic, deranged women as Bunny Boilers. It is almost as good as her theory that men are "waffles" and women are "spaghetti". It's pure genius.

3) We have tickets to Keeneland on Sunday. For those of you who don't know the sweetsauce of Keeneland...just picture a lush, green carpet of grass, surrounded by a perfectly manicured dirt track, and the most athletic thoroughbreds you've ever seen racing toward the finish line as you grasp your trifecta ticket and sip your bourbon and coke. That is horse-racing heaven. Unfortch, it's going to be a whopping 61 degrees (instead of the 84 it was yesterday). But I've heard bourbon does wonders for warming you up.
From the spring meet last year.
As we say in Kentucky, "GO, BABY, GO!!"

2) We went to Ft. Knox on Wednesday for a meeting Neal had. I learned 3 things: the PX sells wine and that makes it infinitely better than Kroger; I'm pretty sure Elizabethtown looks nothing like Elizabethtown, and if you think you're driving the right speed on base, you're probably going too fast.

1) This is what I woke up to this morning:
He was supposed to go down to the Unemployment office today. I told him he would blend right in. This is the shirt he bought (along with one other) to pack for our wedding on the beach. I'm so shocked someone from the AARP hasn't spotted him and wedged membership materials under his windshield wiper.

Cheers to you on this sunny, 80-degree Champagne Friday! I have a Spin class to teach at 9 AM tomorrow morning, so Champagne Friday will have to kick off a little Well it's 5:00 in Europe.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Working 7-7:45


...which is sort of like working 9-5...but with a smaller check and much more sweat. All of this to say...I took a part time job. So, yes weird Anonymous Commenter...I can get a job for a little while. And it starts tomorrow.

I used to be the general manager of a gym in the county next door. And then I go. And that was a week before my wedding. The same gym hired me back to teach Spinning, Pilates, and yoga about 6 months later. And then, when I took a job at another Pilates place in town as a massage therapist (NOT as a Pilates instructor), I was fired again. And then I got a call a couple of weeks ago asking if I would come back to teach Spinning. I'm like a Dateline episode. I'm starting to show signs of Battered Instructor Syndrome. But we need the money and it's something that I am actually trained to do (in addition to using our washer and dryer and making the most killer cup of coffee in the french press) so I'm off to make a buck. And Neal told me today that if I continue to teach, even after he is gainfully re-employed, I can use that money for Champagne Friday and get any bottle I want! I'm thinking pink...

And then he made some crack about how I could also use these classes as a way to burn off Champagne Friday. Hardy-har-har. Doesn't he know anything consumed on Champagne Friday is calorie-free? Men! Sometimes I wonder if they were all raised by the same pack of wolves.

The good news is, I have been to 1 or several Spinning classes at The Satan's Spawn Gym and now have a working knowledge of what is really irritating to a room full of sweating, moaning, crabby people who may or may not die in the next 90-second uphill sprint. So...there's that. Also?? I quit eating breakfast because by the time I get out of bed at 9 AM, have a couple cups of coffee and a shower, it's lunch time. So, between sleeping through breakfast and teaching Spinning twice a week, I should be Cindy Crawford just in time to get pregnant again. Is attaining the 8-pack abs you've never had a valid excuse for postponing pregnancy? I'm just wondering in case I have to argue it. But we're not there yet.

Day 1 starts tomorrow.

And for all of you wondering....Lulu LOVES her leash. Well, she loves her walks...leashes are the necessary evil for de-clawed kittehs. And I was starting to feel very self-conscious about it (what with all of the neighbors nearly crashing into mailboxes due to staring instead of driving) until you all flooded my comments box with stories about how you were tempted or have or still do walk your cats. And the mailman stopped me today to tell me about his neighbor who walks her rabbit. Suddenly, I feel alarmingly normal. So, thanks for that.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bourbon Rum Friday with a Side of Hangover Saturday

I have absolutely no excuse for being MIA from BloggyLand, except that I've been exorcising the last of ManCold, we had a soldier whose house burned down this week, I've gotten about a blue million custom orders for Mother's Day, and we've had to make daily life-changing decisions...Do we want to move to King City, CA for Neal to take a job on Ft. Hunter Liggett?....Do we want to move to Ft. Knox?...Do we want to stay here and hope something opens up at the state?....Do we want to sell the house?...Do we want to keep the house?...Do we want to launch ourselves into outer space until the job market opens up and people start bathing in 100 dollar bills, y'all?

And the answer to all of this is...We don't know. Kind of anti-climatic, isn't it? It's no wonder that Neal is awake from 3-5 every morning and I'm having dreams of waitressing at a bar while holding Lulu like a baby the whole time. Last night, I had a dream that Neal left me at a bar because I was topless. Things will have to change eventually. In the meantime, I have every intention of returning to you all this weekend. I miss you all like crazyjuice and your blog titles taunt me from my Blogroll. They whisper, "Come read us! We are highly entertaining! And we go better with a glass of wine!" Darn you, witty and snarky bloggers! I still have to do my business taxes...but then I still have 5 days. No reason not to put that off, right?

So, I hope that everyone had a knock-out Champagne Friday yesterday. It seems that Shana had something better than Champagne...she had Orlando Bloom sitting on a balcony across the way from her office. I would drink that up any day! Cheers to you, love! And I owe you a top 5 Friday, which I was not sober enough to write yesterday. Sorry about that. Y'know how it goes when there's Wild Turkey in the house....

5. I finally did it...I finally gave in to the spell of Sookie and Bill and created my first and only Peace, Love, Vampire Blood necklace. It felt so right...sort of like selling out. Oh well, True Blood is not's got way more sex and I can dig it.
4. Jaron and The Long Road to Love has a new song out on country radio. It keeps popping up on my BlackBerry's I Heart Radio app and it just never gets old. Here's a little snippet...

I haven't been to church since I don’t remember when
Things were goin’ great ‘til they fell apart again
So I listened to the preacher as he told me what to do
He said you can’t go hatin’ others who have done wrong to you
Sometimes we get angry, but we must not condemn
Let the good Lord do His job and you just pray for them

I pray your brakes go out runnin’ down a hill
I pray a flowerpot falls from a window sill and knocks you in the head like I’d like to
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls
I pray you’re flyin’ high when your engine stalls
I pray all your dreams never come true
Just know whereever you are honey, I pray for you can't say that you've never thought these words about somebody. Honesty is a beautiful, shiny thing.

3. A picture of 3 gorgeous ladies headed out for a friend's Grand Opening...before the 7 cotton candy martinis and 2 trips to the photo booth.
2. I am soooooooo addicted....

1. I saved this for #1 because it's the perfect example of what happens when you're sitting across the desk from your husband and you've both been working all day and it's 75 degrees outside. Sometimes, you just have to go for a walk...
with Lulu on a leash.

Happy Weekend, everyone! Happy Birthday to my girl, Lori, and many thanks for the carton of Cherry Coke Zero and the 12 ounces of rum last night. Next time we'll see what we can use that gin for.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Antibiotics and Awards Cure Everything (or so I've heard)

...because I decided to bite down on this here piece of rawhide and ride this sinus infection out until the green is gone and the chest is dry. Without antibiotics. From here on, you can just refer to me as Ally-Get-Your-Snot-Rag Miller. I'm not dead. Yet. But if I was ever tempted to turn away from modern medicine in search of some higher healing, I'm over that. That is not to say that I don't trust God to bring me back around. I've been praying. I've been praying for the waterfall of snot to stop. And the relentless wheezing to cease. And for all of this coughing to give me the 8-pack abs that I so richly deserve. I'm just saying that He's been slow getting around to me. But now it's a matter of principle. I shall refuse the Z-Pack and will just hack until I die a green death or it all goes away. Hmmm...perhaps I shall henceforth refer to myself as Pioneer Miller. I'm going to need some rustic jewelry for that....

Anymucus, last week (or it could have been the week before that) I received the most awesomepants award from my girl, Queenie Jeannie. She has a happy place. We all need one of those. I've been so bad about posting it that when I went to get it just now, I had to scroll through 3 pages of posts to find it. (That also means that I have 3 pages of posts to catch up on x 40 of you = I don't have anything to do for the 3rd week of April...). Here is her beetiful award:

And now I must list 5 bloggers that make me so happy, I wouldn't mind being chased by a bee in a tiara. And they are (in no certain order):

Foxy of The Fox Den
Kelly of Dare to be Domestic
Amanda of It's Blogworthy
Jessalyn of Cape Cod Awesome
Kiran of Masala Chica

I hope I get this again because I have about 20 more that I could give out. Honorary mentions go to Hutch, Surferwife, Sarah, Sara, Kallay, Kay, Kiera, Cindy, Micah, Lisa, BLissed-Out Grandma, Kim, Kelly, Shana, E.D., DG, Salt, Miss Juicy.......

Nyquil, take me away.....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

From London to Lexington

Today is April 1st and that only means one thing to me: it is the anniversary of my first date with Neal. A date that lasted 9 days and required a passport and an R&R from war. So, when I think back on 26-year old Allyson, boarding a Delta flight, leaving Cincinnati and landing in London, England...I think wow, that was a leap of faith. I'm so glad it worked out.

I remember cursing the first signs of ManCold (although I hadn't yet met any of my bloggy friends, Amanda...I owe you one for adding the truest term ever to my vocabulary, so I didn't even know what ManCold was...just that I had green snot and a first date). I remember the flight over was fairly empty and I had a whole row to myself. I remember my heart beating wildly out of my chest for 9 straight hours.

In my checked luggage, I carried:
*A week's worth of outfits x 2 because this was an impression I was making and sometimes one costume change per day is not enough.
*Every European adapter I could find in hopes that I would always have impossibly straight Chi-hair.
*Another bag. An Army Transportation hanging bag that bore the name and civilian clothes of the Army man I was about to meet in the Heathrow Airport.

In my carry-on, I packed:
*2 front-row tickets to The birthday gift to Neal. And a dress to match.
*My baggie of make-up to touch-up before landing.
*A stash of cash from Mama Virgo in case this was all a very bad idea.

In my mind, I held:
*The voice of a man who had made me laugh, made me cry, and made me love him...all from a half of a world away and over the span of 6 months.
*Every sweet remark in an email, every kind note in a box of flowers, all of the hope from each letter.

In my hand, I clutched:
*A picture, the very first picture I ever saw, of him grinning ear to ear in a humvee with a herd of camels in the being in a war zone suited him just as well as being by the ocean. Even though it wasn't...that's just the kind of guy he is.

We landed at Heathrow around 10 PM and I stood in lines...lines to get through customs, to explain why I had so much luggage, to explain what the hell I was doing there anyway (if I wasn't even sure myself, how could they expect me to explain it to anyone else?), and lines to collect my bags. All 4 of them. I pushed that trolley down the longest corridor I've ever walked. By the time I got to the end, I was sweaty, winded, and most of my touched up make-up was starting to drip. But I looked up and there he stood...waiving, smiling, like he was in the desert...only happier. When we hugged, I could feel every anxiety melt away and it was like embracing a long lost love...someone I had known in some previous life...not foreign to me at all. With apologies to Nora Ephron, it was like coming home.

He helped me with the bags, thanked me for bringing his jeans, sweaters and underwear across an ocean so that he could wear something that did not smell of sweat and remind him of longer, harder days. He hailed a taxi. A British of the thousands of black minicabs that roam the city and remind me of a more glamorous day. I felt like Audrey Hepburn stepping into that black taxi, wearing my Italian sweater borrowed from a friend and accompanied by the most handsome man I had ever met. I was on holiday and I was in love. It was Neal's idea to take our first picture together, in the back of that cab. That date stamp says 2 April because it passed midnight as we exited the airport. But it was 1 April when we hugged and that's what we go by.

Neal had cashed in his American Express points and booked us 5 nights at the Waldorf Inn and 3 nights at the Hilton in Hyde Park. It was all about impressions, after all...although Neal would probably say it's all about comfort after living in a tent in the desert for 6 months.

As Europeans tend to do, the twin beds were pushed together and nailed to the same headboard. He laughed and promised he had asked for 2 beds. It didn't really matter. By the second night, we were both falling into the gap. We talked until the early hours of 2 April...I had a "list" of topics that we had decided to save for the trip, when we could really explain ourselves and look at the other in the eye. At around 3, we both gave up and crashed into our respective sides of the make-shift queen.

We had jam-packed our schedule with was London, after all and London is meant to be seen. By the end of the first day, we had been to St. Paul's Cathedral, attended a concert of the choir of St. Paul's, drank a couple of ciders, and eaten a couple square meals of British cuisine. That night, Mama Virgo called to see if she needed to pick me up at the Cincinnati airport within the next 8-10 hours. Neal respectfully excused himself from the room and I proceeded to tell Mama Virgo just what happiness had awaited me in England. No need to pick me up any earlier than planned, I actually wished it was later.

In the following days, we:
*Arrived at a bar to meet a party-bus but got drunk waiting for the bus and ended up kissing for the first time in the middle of a London nightclub dance floor.
*Toured Madam Tussauds, Stonehenge, Bath, the city on foot with a tour guide, the Hyde Park pond in a paddle boat, Windsor Castle, The Tate Modern Art Museum, the city by night with a tour guide who showed us all of the Jack the Ripper haunts, and many, many London subway stations.
*Caught an early evening showing of The Ring 2 in the plushest cinema I've ever been Notting Hill (Neal and I will someday bring the idea of leather seats and a fully stocked bar in the rear of the cinema to the U.S. for joyous consumption).
*Rejoiced in our front row seats to The Producers and second row seats to The Lion King.
*Walked many miles over cobblestone pavement, exploring the cafes, Indian restaurants, tucked-away pubs, and the must-see tourist attractions (who doesn't love a beefeater, really?)
*Talked about the horrors of our past, the perfection of our present, and the dreams of our future.
*Fell in love. Remarkably, illogically, and hopelessly in love.

To the man I lay down beside each night and the one I wake up next to every morning: I cannot even begin to imagine what my life would be like had it not been for 1 April 2005. It has not always been easy. You were deployed again, I lost my grandmother, I lost a job, you lost a job, we lost a child. But somehow, there we were yesterday, cruising down I-64 with my hand on your thigh and singing Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da. Yes, indeed. Life does go on. And I am the happiest girl in the world that mine goes on with you. Here's to another 50 celebrations of 1 April. We can't buy gifts this year, but I know that the greatest gift you could ever give me is agreeing to share your life. I am so thankful for that every single day. You are the butter to my bread, the breath to my life. I love you always, handsome.

And for those of you who would like a little slide show from the trip, here are a few of my favorites:

Hyde Park Gardens

Front row seats for The Producers

The Ring 2 is SCARY!

St. Paul's Cathedral

Paddle-boating in Hyde Park pond

You can't pick your friends and you can't pick your nose, but apparently you can pick Julia Robert's nose.

I took The Rock to the gun show.

That is one Bath I would NOT bathe in.

A storm rolls in as we leave The Tate Modern.

The very definition of bittersweet: a romantic dinner cruise down the Thames River. On our last night together.

We spent a lot of time on the subway.

Last hours together before heading back to Heathrow and a very long and lonely flight home.

And to my bloggy friends: I was surprised and honored to receive an award, her very own award, from Queenie Jeannie last weekend and I will post it tomorrow. ManCold has been relentless and if you can't see the time stamp on this post, I am finishing up at 3:15 AM. Wheezy chest = zero sleep. But tomorrow is Champagne Friday and what better way to kick it off than with an award from one of my favorite people??