Why Nothing Gets Done During Deployment


Dear Husband,

You want to know why nothing ever seems to get done during deployment?  This is why:

DOG DEPLOYMENTWake up 25 minutes before the alarm clock goes off.

Glare at it with disdain.

Turn the computer on.

Traipse into the coffee to make kitchen.

Drink coffee.

Trip over the dog doing the peepee dance.

Check to see if your deployed soldier is signed on to Skype.

Let the damn dog out.

Check cell phone to see if the husband has texted you.

Remember you suspended his cell phone service while he’s out of country.

Look angrily at the yellow dot on Skype again.

Sign onto work email.

Check Facebook Messenger to see if the husband is signed onto FB.

Grunt at the inactive indicator by his name.

Remember you were opening work email.

Stare resentfully at the hundred new emails that have bombarded your inbox.

Decide you’ll start working on them after you check FB again.

Wonder why your husband isn’t online.

Debate turning on the news to see if anything has “gone down” where he’s stationed.

Decide that’s a bad idea.

Hear the kids stirring in the other room.

Try typing less vigorously hoping they’ll go back to sleep.

Remember you were opening work email (again).

Notice a dinging sound on one of your electronic devices and check phone, iPad and laptop hopeful for some indicator that you’ve received a FB or Skype message.

Type “I’m fine” with irritation to the random person messaging you at this ungodly hour that is NOT your husband.

Make sure all previously referenced electronic devices are indeed working.

Give up on the idea that the children are going back to sleep.

Argue breakfast choices with children for twenty minutes.

Agree that peanut butter on a spoon is indeed “protein”.

Argue outfit choices with children for fifteen minutes.

Debate whether or not anyone would notice if you pulled a child’s favorite pair of pants out of the dirty laundry pile and Febreezed them.

Negotiate regarding whether or not a second favorite pair of pants will do.

Stand by the bathroom sink with a blow dryer and pants pulled from the washer and wave dryer at pants pointlessly.

Hand third favorite pair of pants to child and articulate some version of “you will wear them and like them” using your mean mom voice.

Argue what’s going in the lunch boxes. Times four.

Throw whatever you find in Tupperwear in the bags and utter some version of “you’ll eat this and you’ll like it” using your “I’m not playing” voice.

Somehow miraculously get everyone corralled (and mostly dressed) and out the door.

Hear your FB notification that you’ve got a new message maybe from husband.

Realize you but now don’t have time to check it without kids being late to school.

Figure you’ll check FB at the first red light between the house and school.

Make EVERY. FREAKING. GREEN. LIGHT for the first time in the history of the existence of your town’s traffic light system.

Sit back down at your desk.

Realize the FB notification was from your deployed husband.

Also realize he’s once again not signed on FB.

Check Skype.


Think about how much you love your husband.

Curse the military, the internet, and all who conspire to keep you from connecting with your loved one.

Speaking of the internet, aren’t you supposed to be working?

Respond to ten emails.

Watch thirty emails come in.

Chase the dog now running through the house with someone’s dirty underwear in his mouth.

Wonder why there’s dirty underwear available to the dog.

Observe how messy the house is.

Attempt to do damage control.

Check all electronic devices again for any sign of husband.

Notice it’s now time to pick up the kids from school.

Get back in the car and head for the school, running late.

Hit EVERY SINGLE RED LIGHT between home and the school.

Argue about what time the kids have to start their homework, and why they have to do homework, and why homework is stupid and a bane on the existence of children everywhere.

Start dinner.

Argue about what you’re making for dinner and why you always make what Child X wants and don’t care what Child Y likes and why fast food is a much better option.

Insist your children “will eat what you make and like it” using your “I’m too tired for this crap” voice.

Miraculously get children tucked in and collapse in your own bed.

Wonder where the day went and why you got nothing done.

Open FB ONE-LAST-TIME-TODAY-I-SWEAR and find your husband online.

“Just wanted to wish you sweet dreams as I’m waking up, love.”

Fall asleep exhausted but with a smile on your face.

Randi Cairns is one of the coauthors of Stories Around the Table, the  AFI 2014 New Jersey National Guard Spouse of the Year and the Founder/Executive Director of Home Front Hearts.

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  • Cinda

    I don’t actually have kids or a dog, but it didn’t keep me from relating this story to my own and from laughing out loud! Love it!

    • Randi Cairns

      Happy to share a laugh – and ya gotta laugh, right??
      Hugs, Randi

  • Namike

    Such a true and cute little story. The ending did make me tear up a bit. I have yet to experience his first deployment – only having his tech school and BMT under our belts. So, in that manner, I could relate a little.

    • Randi Cairns

      There’s no “only” – whether it’s training or schools or deployments, missing them is never easy :)
      Hugs, Randi

  • C Volkmann

    And then think about the spouses of the Vietnam vets! Vietnam was before Skype, PCs, laptops or iPads. This may make it a little easier.

    • Randi

      Today’s era of instant communication is a mixed blessing for sure. Across the generations and conflicts, this is never an easy life. But it’s one I live proudly for and with my soldier!

  • my6gifts

    Agree, C Volkmann. I’m so glad we didn’t have Skype or FB when my husband deployed, although mypsace was in existance and yahoo messenger, but we never chatted through myspace and rarely did the video messenger, because it was so delayed and froze constantly. I also refused to talk through the MWR phones, because getting every 5 words was far more torment than actually having him pay with his phone card to call me, every couple of weeks.
    Hand written letters and cards were better in general and even emails (I’d print them off).
    My grandma talked about her brother being in Korea and during his over 2 years there, they got 1-5 minute call. We’re all quite spoiled anyone who’s had a spouse deployed from 2003 on, when it comes to communication. Now those deployed often have their own cell phones with them, crazy to me!
    I also don’t miss a single thing about active duty and so glad he’s retired!! :)

    I just never waited by the phone, worried about the cell phone, we just lived our life, and knew as long as there wasn’t a knock on the door, things were okay! Even when the weeks passed with no contact!

    • Randi Cairns

      Totally agree about needing to “just live our lives” – and trust me, we do. We just miss our soldier while we’re doing it!

      Hugs, Randi

  • Tress

    I find this all funny and can see this happening because I spend a lot of time on the computer now after retirement and don’t get a lot done around the house lol, but didn’t have all this technical communication when my hubby was in the Army, was lucky to get a letter every week as they often piled up at the post office and received them all at once then had to figure out which one he wrote first and try to read them in order. 200.00 a month in phone bills and only talked twice a month for less than an hour. We didn’t even have phone cards. I remember getting our first cell phone when we lived an hour from post for him to use in emergencies because we only got 30 minutes a month and was long distance calling to call post and didn’t take it overseas, that would of been outrageous in fees to use. I’m thankful the families have more communication and the kids can see their deployed parent often online as my young kids would forget who daddy was after a year deployment even though I showed them family videos and pictures of him often and told them this is daddy. It was the saddest thing to watch but they adjusted and got to know him again but was hard to watch them shy away from daddy when he arrived home and take a few weeks to get used to him being home again. However it didn’t get easier when he retired from the army, he works 3-11 PM and works weekends so during the school year he only has a few hours with the kids on Saturday mornings and occasional days off but we make it work and he is very close to the kids. He texts them often when he has a break at work. During the Army days, I found things to get involved in to keep us busy. the kids were in sports, we were involved in several activities at church and a few bases had family support groups that I was involved in. The last 6 years he was in companies that didn’t have it so felt out of the army loop as I didn’t know any of the wives in his company so I encourage you to get involved in your FSG as being connected with other army wives is very helpful as we all stick together and understand what each other is going through.. Civilians have no idea and have a harder time relating to what you are living through everyday. I loved being an Army wife and miss it but thankful he retired so we can still feel like we are part of the military even if shopping at the commissary. I enjoy being surrounded by military when I go on base.

    • Randi Cairns

      Thanks so much for your family’s service, Tress! We’ve been a military family for over 20 years and know what life with the communication possibilities and without it are like. I remember getting that first phone bill after a rare overseas call and being mind blown that a call could cost that much!

      And while this article was meant to be tongue in cheek, our lives here are very full with activities that don’t involve being a hostage to technology – smiles. I run a nonprofit organization and am raising four kids and there’s not a tremendous amount of time left in the days to pout over missing my guy. But oh is he missed! Hugs, Randi

  • nickel

    This just makes me laugh and cry, cause I miss my husband so much

    • Randi Cairns

      Awww Nickel – right there with you and sending hugs.

  • The last 6 years he was in companies that didn’t have it so felt out of the army loop as I didn’t know any of the wives in his company so I encourage you to get involved in your FSG as being connected with other army wives is very helpful as we all stick together and understand what each other is going through..

    Read more: https://spousebuzz.com/blog/2015/02/nothing-gets-d