The Time I Went To Basic Training

Tomorrow marks the day I went to Air Force Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Tx – 7 years ago. I was terrified.

When you fly out to basic training you have a tiny little bag with your things, you are (or should be) dressed in something that doesn’t draw attention to you, and you hand carry this gigantic manilla envelope that has all of your documentation in it. People in the airport must recognize this, because they look at you and KNOW where you are going. Some say things, others just look at you as if to say, “poor sucker.” Then prance off gleefully because they know they aren’t about to be tripping over their own feet and mumbling  in approximately 10 hours.

After leaving Cheyenne on the pack of gum with wings on it, and a change in Denver, I got to the airport in San Antonio and decided that I was  in no rush to get out of the terminal. They take people to the base all night, right? Plus I was super early- like 4pm kind of early. So I  made multiple stops worth of airport culinary delights. Kinda surprised I didn’t give myself a case of Montezuma’s revenge.  (How awkward would THAT have been? Sir, Trainee McClure reports as . . . I have to poop!” ) In any event, finally, I mustered enough courage to take my bloated, stuffed belly and face my future.

New recruits have to head to the USO desk where they check you in and make you sit in a hallway with everyone else until it’s time to herd them into the busses. There were two TI’s standing there, barking at a few people; “Tuck in your shirts!” “Tie your shoes!” “Get your hair out of your face!” Nothing too severe. After I checked in I settled into a bench and proceeded to watch all the other helpless victims arrive. Some got yelled at, some not– and I thought, “hey, if it’s like this, it won’t be so  bad.” Stupid me.

One kid came down the hall with long frizzy hair down past his shoulders. He was wearing a “cool new person” Myspace shirt. We (the collective group) cringed. This kid never saw it coming.  The TI’s came down on him like sharks on a seal with no iceberg to get to.  If only there had been real blood. . .  The upside though was that no one else was really paid attention to the whole night. Thanks kid- whoever you were. I hope you survived and the scars weren’t too bad.

Once on the bus headed towards the base, everyone tried to laugh a bit, and point out things like Target, Texas Roadhouse, Walmart, etc. It was a last desperate attempt to feel like everything was ok. Our feeble attempts would not save us.

Getting off the bus is a little blurry to me. I know we had to take our bags and quickly get into lines, some people were yelling, people were tripping and falling, and it was dark. From there we went inside the in-procesing building to sit for what would seem like an eternity. Except you couldn’t fall asleep. If people did, you had to wake them up. It got all lord-of-the-flies in there–fast.

Groups started disappearing; their TI’s would come to pick up their flights, the screaming would begin and they would be gone. Soon there weren’t many people left. Our group just kind of looked at each other, wondering what would happen to us? Maybe there wasn’t room? Maybe they’d send us back? Maybe we’d be eaten?

About then, the doors flew open and in flew the she-devil, kicking chairs and hissing as she flew across the ground. I think a kid pooped himself. Or it might have been me. I can’t remember. Then I started praying, “Please dear lord, anyone but her.” I must have repeated this prayer in my head about 1,000 times while they called out names from the group of people I was with. Suddenly they were all gone, and I was not.  She marched them outside and that was it. The power of prayer works, people!

Except it totally didn’t.

About two minutes after they went out, my name was called and I was told to get my bag and go with the group waiting outside. My heart was in my shoes. I tried to put on a brave face praying it was a different group and went out the door, only to have my soul crushed. It was her group. It was her. I was going to die.

After being shuttled to our dorm, we were rushed in and told we had to shower. 60 girls, 8 shower heads, 2 minutes. The Red Bull guy who jumped from space doesn’t have anything on that scenario. You were supposed to have shampoo on your hair, toothpaste on your brush and towel in hand. Most had toothpaste on their hair, and shampoo on their toothbrush and towel fallen on the ground, but whatever, we made it work.

I miraculously hadn’t burst into tears yet. That would come the next day. For this part I am pretty proud of myself. Lord knows I can cry with the best of them. (The ASPCA animal comercials get me every time.)  But once we were in the day room  the she-devil showed us how to make a sock bun, and assigned everyone random jobs. Then she laid it on us: She was not our TI. Our TI was male and couldn’t be in our dorm after lights out, so she had to pick us up. And she was not happy about it.

I could have yelled for joy, done a happy dance and sung a song. But out of fear of instantaneous death, I did not. So, inside I smiled so big that my whole body hurt. Think of the time you had to pee the absolute worst, and then  how relieved you felt when you finally got to go. It felt like that. I could conquer the world.

Then- we got told to go to bed.  And I would have, except all the sniffle babies kept me awake.

End of day 1.

P.S. Later in life I met the she-devil on the outside, and you know what? She’s totally not a she-devil. She’s a pretty badass chica. Even if I was terrified of her the entire time I was in training- it just means she was doing her job well.

 

 

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Give Away Time!

It has finally happened! It’s time to do our first ever give away!

What are we giving away? Good question–but it’s surprise. All I will tell you is that it came from the Budapest Christmas Market, and it’s breakable. Why do I mention that it’s breakable? Because there is  a story here (which is good, otherwise there is no good way to do this thing).

It  took forever to decide what the item was going to be while shuffling around in the cold, with the baby bundled up in her polar bear suit, and the entire group meandering about. There were lots of neat things to see, eat, smell, and watch. Sensory overload.

I found the item on the way out of the market and everyone was relieved–I think in part because they were concerned I would break down in tears if I didn’t find something.

The Keeper of the Captors (read: au pair), Paula, and I skipped merrily away content with our purchase and had visions of warm food and bathrooms dancing in our heads.

While walking along the river back to the car, Paula and Rod asked if I could take some pictures of them with the Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge in the background, because when they are lit up at night, they are particularly beautiful.

It was around picture number three when I shifted and went to snap another shot. I had removed my gloves and in doing so, removed the bag holding the give away gift from my wrist. Upon clicking the button I heard a sickening “THWACK.” I knew what it was before even looking down. The Keeper of the Captors and Paula stared at me wide eyed; Rod looked puzzled and said, “What was THAT?”

I couldn’t even bring myself to open the bag, so the Keeper of the Captors did it for me. She gingerly picked up the bag from the ground and whispered, “It’s in many pieces.” Sure enough. It had been smashed to smithereens.

I must have made a pouty face because Rod looked at Paula and asked if she knew where it was that I got it. The two of them ran off to get me a new one, afraid I would have a pregnancy-induced tearful meltdown along the Danube. The others just tried to give me hugs and promise it would be OK as we lumbered on towards the cars.

So, the good news: We have a give away gift!

The bad news: We also have a broken give away gift!

Which brings me to the point and the rules of the give away.  3 Super easy simple steps!

First, go here: The My Captivity Facebook Page! 

Second, click “Like.”

Third, share the post AND leave a comment with your guess as to how many shards the original give away gift is in. The person with the closest guess wins. If there are multiple correct guesses, a winner will be chosen at random.

That’s it! I’ll contact the winner to get a mailing address and send off the prize. Easy right?

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Bird, Bird, Bird — Bird Is The Word

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!  I hope your day will be full of love, laughs and whatever you want to eat. I admit, I might have chosen to just order Chinese food if I were back in the states. Thanksgiving prep is a ton of work, all to have everyone pass out from food comas about 45 minutes after eating. I digress . . .

You remember that 33lb turkey I was supposed to get? I was super pumped; it was going to be the turkey to end all turkeys. I wasn’t sure how it would fit in the oven or even how long it would need to be in the oven. Well, I am sad to say that there was a tragic accident with my Gino-turkey and what showed up were two smaller turkeys. (Combined they didn’t even match the requested weight of the Gino-turkey.)

I have some theories on what happened:

1. My turkey ran away, but in doing so, killed two of his rafter mates to make it look like he was kidnapped and there was some kind of struggle. I got the rafter mates.

2. My turkey won the Hunger Games, so we had to accept two of the other loser tributes.

3. My turkey went through mitosis.

4. My turkey threw himself in front of a truck, being flattened instantly. The farmer being traumatized from the unexpected death, bought two turkeys from a neighboring farmer because he didn’t want to put any more of his birds under any more undue stress.

I really have no idea what happened, but it was sad. It meant that I had a long day yesterday and had to stay up super late last night to cook the other turkey — which is fine really. It’s carved up so we can serve it to the kids while we cut up the other bird. Win-win, I guess.

You know what was NOT a win-win? Opening the bag to find that THE NECK WAS STILL ATTACHED! The insides were also STILL INSIDE IN THEIR PROPER POSITIONS. They just cut off the head, and pulled out the feathers then shoved it into a bag. I about died. In fact, I ran shrieking from the kitchen while my house full of family and friends laughed in glee.

Seriously, think back to theory number 1. This was a murder victim in a bag! (I’m sure PETA thinks all food is animal murder anyway, but shove off, PETA.)

Not right, not right at all

Not right; not right at all.

 

Someone else had to come in and finish making the turkey look like something I could work with. Meanwhile I sat in a corner rocking myself trying not to cry/throw up. I think I might be losing my touch in the kitchen. The Internal Captor is making me weak.

I raise my tumbler of juice (pretend wine) to the rest of you and hope your Thanksgivukkah goes without murdered-turkey incident.

Love,

~Me

 

 

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Tis The Tuesday Before Thanksgivukkah

Tis the Tuesday before Thanksgivukkah
and all through the house,
people should be doing their tasks,
or I’ll freak the hell out.

The Menorah is missing,
packed away somewhere dark,
and I’m losing my mind,
from hearing the dogs bark.

There are pies to be baked,
rolls to be made,
laundry still to be done,
I think the baby shat a grenade.

The people are coming,
presents to be dealt,
scores of things to wrap,
where the &*%$ is the gelt?!

The husband keeps letting,
the dogs track mud on the floor,
If he doesn’t stop soon,
I’ll show him the door.

There’s only one Thanksgivukkah,
on the calendar for years,
I must get it right,
or it will all end in tears.

The turkey I’ve ordered,
might be ginormous indeed
if I manage to cook it,
the village I could feed.

If it doesn’t fit in,
I don’t know what  do,
maybe cut it in half,
then reassemble with glue.

Am I crazy for having planned this?
Was I out of my mind?
Have I gotten myself
into an unspeakable bind?

We won’t have Manischewitz;
whatever will we do?
I don’t even have
traditional white and Hanukkah blue.

The dishes are Italian,
pastel pinks, teals, and browns,
but the kid can sing Hanukkah songs,
he knows how to get down.

If it all falls apart,
at least there is pie,
but if someone eats all the pumpkin,
I will probably die.

Enjoy your Thanksgivukkah,
Love from my family to yours,
Remember not to go overboard,
with too many chores.

Eat lots of turkey,
spin a dreidel or two,
and be thankful for friends and family,
as I am thankful for you.

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The IKEA Saga: Fresh Splinters

If you remember, last weekend I made the trip to IKEA and survived. I never mentioned anything about assembling said furniture- because that was the Bigger Captor’s punishment for not joining us. He had to assemble everything himself.

Now it’s my turn to watch the circus instead of being IN the circus. I need some popcorn!

5:30 pm- As I look out at the floor in front of me, I see wood planks of all sizes strewn about haphazardly. The baby has been traversing them as if they were some sort of bridge across the carpet. Everything smells of pine.

5:34 pm- The Tiniest Captor has dumped out a bag of washers and small screws all over the floor. I’m pretty sure those pieces will be needed at some point.

5:37 pm- Things are starting to take shape. The captors could be Bones and the Squints, lying out a skeleton to try and put it all in the right order. Only which one of them will confuse the zygomatic process for a patella?

5:40 pm- A slab apparently was not put together correctly back at the IKEA factory. Improvise boys, improvise!!

5:45 pm- The Bigger Captor just pried open Zeke’s mouth looking for a screwdriver. This is getting interesting.

5:51 pm- Both dogs have shredded the instructions across the carpet and one of them has moved onto the cardboard pieces. Someone is going to have to vacuum. . .

5:54 pm- Yep, those pieces the Tiniest Captor dumped out are needed. Question is, where did they go? Again, checking the dog’s mouth.

5:57 pm- The Smaller Captor is upset because he has the unfortunate task of putting the screws into the holes by hand. He wants to be a big person and use a tool too. Little does he know he IS the tool. (I said “is the,” not “is a.”)

6:01 pm-Now Zeke the Great Dane puppy has decided that the Bigger Captor’s lap is where he needs to sit while the Bigger Captor attaches some sort of stabilizing mechanism to the contraption. It’s getting all Albert Einstein up in here; I don’t know if I can handle all the smartness.

6:07 pm- The contraption now resembles a . . . drum roll please DISH SHELF!

6:15 pm- There is packaging and wood carnage everywhere. I can only imagine this is how Gettysburg looked after the battle. I’m guessing I will have to do the cleanup. . .

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Damn You IKEA

The people who created IKEA are a bunch of crafty bastards, you guys realize this, right? They lure you in with the promise of finding things you can’t live without- bright colored pieces of furniture, great looking accessories and to top it all off, meatballs. Someone finally found a way to craftily market balls and wood to the general public, who willingly devour them right up. . . terrible joke, I know.

One of the things about living here is that IKEA really is one of the best places to get stuff, even through it’s a 2 hour drive. Once you get there, you play the Parking-Lot-Buzzard-Game, looking for a fresh kill of an open spot. This can take up to half an hour sometimes which only increases the already unbearable pressure on yours and your companions bladders. Bladder pressure grows, tension mounts, and soon the scene is set for a meltdown of epic proportions—and you haven’t even gotten into the store yet.

We recently had to go there and once we found our fresh kill spot and managed to park the truck in a spot meant for a circus car, it was time to heard the family in. I applied my Braveheart makeup and gathered the captor children along with the captor’s au pair.

The Bigger Captor had to “work” so he stayed home. It’s common knowledge that he despises trips to IKEA and forcing him to come could only be detrimental to our marriage. Besides, if he’s not around to tell me what I can’t buy, then we all enjoy ourselves a tad more.

Once we made it in the door, we proceeded to do what everyone else on the entire planet is doing; waiting in line to use the 3 bathroom stalls that the store has provided. The Tiniest Captor seriously needed a pants change and the Smaller Captor was trying his best to convince me to let him stay in the play room. It’s about 1 1/2 feet deep of plastic ball crawl balls and inside looks like a war of the lillaputians. As fun as that might be, the Small Captor was easily twice the size of the other kids, and the last thing I needed was for him to hurt some kid when we don’t even speak the same language.

Having an international incident in IKEA was not the afternoon I was going for.

Finally we fed everyone (meatballs of course) and managed to round up a cart, so we set about hunting down the items on the list. This means trying to navigate every section of the store while not running over someone’s ankles, and keeping the Smaller Captor off of every piece of furniture.

We probably walked past 4 other child meltdowns before we even made it out of the kitchen section. Which brings me to a point. The store offers these sort of “Chutes and Ladders” type shortcuts that you can use, but be warned, these come with a price.

I realized too late after using one, that what I needed was back in the opposite direction, which meant ignoring the bright yellow arrows on the floor and being that jackwagon salmon that swims upstream when everyone else is trying to get to the ocean. Not an easy task, I assure you. I’m fairly certain I was scolded by a number of people, but I was NOT about to take that chute all the way to the bottom just to try again.

After that fiasco, I took the cart full of baby, stuff, and the Smaller Captor back towards where we needed to go. Upon entering the kids section, the Smaller Captor kept asking if we could buy the Tiniest Captor something. NON STOP. Pick your favorite politican- he was just as relentless. But I perservered! On that floor anyway. . .

Once downstairs, trying to navigate the maze to the warehouse portion and the checkout, we found ourselves in the rug and carpet area. Sitting atop a pile of rugs, looking ever so lonely was a giant, stuffed, grey elephant.

The baby saw it, and turned to me. She gave me the biggest sad baby face you could ever imagine. Her bottom lip stuck out far enough you could land a plane on it. Imagine Puss in Boots, with the sad cat face, but on the Tiniest Captor. She knows how to work those baby blues. Dirtball.

Needless to say, I am weak.

I gave the girl the elephant and within seconds she held onto the trunk and its feet, laying her tired baby head on it and petting its fur. Other shoppers stopped to say aww and things I can’t understand while smiling and nodding at the pair.

I love my elephant. Don't take him!

I love my elephant. Don’t take him!

I know it’s not a great picture. I don’t have a fancy iPhone with a good camera. That got stolen the LAST trip into IKEA. I digress- enjoy this as a dose of cute for a moment. Then remember that IKEA is the devil. They make you hike 15 miles to get anywhere, and put traps out so that you purchase things you don’t need. But your baby does. Damn you IKEA.

 

 

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The Smaller Captor Strikes Again

And by strike, I mean he’s about to strike out. Of what exactly, I’m not entirely sure- but something!

Remember the heap of trouble the kid got into a little bit ago over his math homework? The whole telling us lies about it for ever on end and then the Bigger Captor gets the scoop during parent-teacher conferences? He had to write that page about what he did wrong and why. (If you haven’t seen it, check it out here ) In any event, the kid’s story was pretty cute- hard to stay mad at him for long.

Which leads me to this week’s infraction . . .  the Smaller Captor’s teacher has been gracious enough to email everyone at the end of the day and say what the homework is. Apparently the Smaller Captor isn’t the only one who decided that homework was for the weak. This particular email said that the Smaller Captor was supposed to study his spelling words.  Easy enough (read: should have seen it coming) I thought.

Upon asking the Smaller Captor where his spelling list was, he produced this gem.

 

This is how you "write" "braille" says the Smaller Captor.

Take your best guess

Can you make any sense of it? I couldn’t either. At first I thought he had written it in connect-the-dot format, but that wasn’t leading to anything resembling real words. I thought perhaps it was written sideways- nope, not that either. Meanwhile, the Smaller Captor looked at me wide eyed through his glasses, terror coming in waves across his little lips. I think he might have been trying to scheme up a quick lie, but was failing to come up with anything halfway decent.

Finally I put down the paper, took a deep breath, and calmly asked, “what is this?”  He looked me dead in the eye, shrugged his shoulders and replied, “I wrote it in braille.”

Think about that for a moment.

Braille, he wrote it in “braille”.

I had no words to say. What can you say to that? Where did the kid learn about braille? And what made him decide to write it that way, and HOW was he going to study it?

I. Got. Nothing.

 

 

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Sarah’s First Birthday

Today we take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to celebrate the Tiniest Captor’s first birthday!

It seems like yesterday that she forced me into bed rest and My Captivity was launched. It started with daily Facebook updates that gathered far more attention and laughs than I imagined. Husband built the website for me, and here we are.

It’s crazy to look back at all the pictures and see how much she has grown and changed in the last year. You really forget how small they ever were in the beginning! She’s gone from the tiny-baby-burrito to the giant-squirmy-messy-face that is currently watching Sesame Street with her big brother.

When she gets bigger, she’ll have an interesting story to tell: born in Vienna, lived in Hungary, traveled to the US twice, spent time in Germany and Italy, and had friends and family fly across the ocean, all to see her—and that is just year one.

The mornings (read: all night) used to consist of feeding, burping, rocking, snuggling, changing, singing, crying (on everyone’s part), some minor sleeping, etc. Now the mornings consist of her chugging down a bottle in our bed, only to them crawl all over us, lean in for kisses and hugs, and trying to find ways to launch herself off the bed so she can go find her brother.

There is no place that girl would rather be than in her brother’s room, playing with his stuff. She loves to eat dried out playdough, steal his matchbox cars, and let him take things away from her. To that girl, her brother is a god. Even when we think he is being mean, she looks at him adoringly as if to say, “Do it again!” She can’t quite say his name, but calls out “lleeee!” to him and will literally go from crying to laughing in the same breath if he walks into the room. It is safe to say, he is her favorite.

She says “mama,” “dada,” and “eek” (Zeke), but mostly just babbles away at us. She loves to screech for fun, just to see who will look. She waves at strangers and melts their hearts. She’s charmed some neighbors in our village, and has everyone asking us where her socks are constantly.

But enough from us, here is a little slideshow we put together. I’m sure you can make it through without crying, but I can’t. I’ve watched it probably 15 times already and sniffle through it each time. We tried to include as many people as possible, but only had the pictures here on our laptop. So not everyone made it in; for this we are sorry. (But if you have pictures of the two of you together, send them to me!)

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Pregnancy Brain

The Bigger Captor says being pregnant  makes me crazy; I say he’s full of it. I think he just makes stuff up because he forgets about things and then wants to blame me for it. Some examples:

Squash: A few weeks ago, I was gone and the Bigger Captor wanted to cook a squash. So he called and asked me how to do it. He says I told him to cut it in half, salt and pepper it, then put it face down in the oven. He also says he asked repeatedly if it should be in a dish of some kind, to which I repeatedly assured him, “No. Just put it on the rack in the oven.” Fast forward a week later when he cooks the other half, I ask how he did it, and he tells me, “The same way you had me do it last time.” He gives me the steps, and I freak out because he said he didn’t put it in a pan. He freaks out at me because he swears I told him to do it that way. Now there is burnt squash all over the bottom of the oven from where it fell apart. He tells me I have to clean it up. I don’t even like squash.

Moving: When we moved to Hungary (pregnant with the Tiniest Captor), we had to pack up our old house, which required downsizing and getting rid of things. Apparently, I told him to put a bunch of things in the garage sale pile. Things like my wicker penguin, the Foreman grill, the waffle iron, and my soul. Once our household goods arrived here in Hungary, I started unpacking and asking where these items were. He stood there in disbelief, not having any idea of what to say to me. I think he mumbled, “I’m sorry?” and walked away to bang his head against a wall.

Decisions in general: He claims that I change my mind about something about 1,500 times before I can make a decision on something. And even then, I might will change it again. He calls it “frustrating”; I call it “keeping things exciting.”

 

 

 

 

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Decaf Bedrest

Monday I went to work, and by went to work, I mean shuffled slowly about 1/4 mile from the parking lot to our building and my desk. From there I proceeded to sit in a hard chair for about 6 hours with some random shuffling around my container thrown in for excitement.

We have a guy at work who has been on the walking wounded list for a while now, I think he had a stroke a while back, but I’m not positive. At any rate, he shuffles faster than I do. Several of my co-workers felt the need to point this out. (as if I wasn’t already painfully aware) It’s cool though, shuffling that slowly lets you really see all the dents in the wall and scuff marks on the floor. It does wonders for your interior design motivation!

My dear container mate saw my plight and said “no-way-Jose!” Fast forward a few hours and the doctor has said the same thing. Bless those two! I now I have a note that says no-going-to-work-to-sit-in-chairs-and-walk-around, but I can work from home in my bed. So I shuffled the 1/4 mile back to the car and drove myself home. Begrudgingly, might I add, because I was really hurting by then and driving home was not my idea of fun.

Today began my first day of working from my bed and let me tell you, it is SO HARD not to nap. I mean, it’s my bed for Pete’s sake! So while I get to be in it- I don’t get to give it the full body hug it deserves.I’m terrified it will resent my by the time this 2 weeks is up.

I do get random visitors though. The dog brings me whatever he is chewing on at the moment, leaving slobber trails all down the side of my bed. The Tiniest Captor crawls in and pulls herself up, looking at me with those baby eyes that make me feel guilty for things I haven’t yet done. And the Smaller Captor comes in, wanting to just hang out and try to convince me to let him watch a movie for the 8,324th time. He even brought me lunch. It consisted of 7 fritos, and a sandwich made of the heel of the loaf, plus the next piece with about a tablespoon of tuna on it. I’m pretty sure the prisoners at Gitmo eat better than that.

Tomorrow is a new day, perhaps the warden Bigger Captor will let me shower, and the Smaller Captor will make me some form of lunch again. In the mean time, I’ll do my best not to work and nap at the same time. (though the results could either be terrible, or terribly awesome . . . food for thought)

 

 

 

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