Dear Murphy: I Hate You and Your Law


As a military spouse, I know all too well about Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong after your spouse leaves for a deployment, training or overseas assignment. Whatever the case may be, something is bound to go wrong and make the situation even more stressful and challenging than it has to be.

When my husband left for his one year assignment in Japan, Murphy wasted no time and hit just a few hours after dropping him off at the airport.


Dear Murphy,

As much as I love having company, I wasn’t ready for it mere hours after returning home from saying goodbye to my husband at the airport. After the night I had, the plan was to spend the day relaxing after an exhaustive night of crying myself to sleep. Yet, instead, I awoke the next morning to find a parking ticket on my windshield—this just wasn’t necessary. I had parked that way many times before and you chose that day to give me a parking ticket. Nice.

If that wasn’t enough, you decide to put my new car in jeopardy. Pulling into traffic, I almost got hit by an oncoming car on the way to the mall. My husband would have loved to hear that I totaled my new car, less than a week after he bought it for me. NOT!

Adding insult to injury, Murphy, you decided to throw in some computer issues as well … during finals week.  The same night after my husband left, and my top row of keys happen to stop working, completely out of the blue, costing a cool $300 to fix.

Three days later, you decided my 4.0 GPA was too high and gave me a failing grade on my final paper for my communications class, leading me to to send my professor an email, pouring my heart out and begging for a redo.  Luckily, she was much nicer than you and understood my circumstances. She gladly let me re-submit it for a better grade, and I kept my 4.0.

A week later, I was finally feeling better, and like I might have everything under control. However, it was then you decided I needed a new living situation, because I guess I was getting a little too comfortable at my mother-in-law’s house. So, that weekend, I had to pack up my bags and move onto to bigger and better things at a friend’s house.

I had high hopes for this new place: I had the entire basement apartment to myself with my own entrance.  I was able to move in my own furniture and spread out a bit; it was going to be great! And, then I moved in to discover the previous tenant wasn’t a clean individual. I had to bribe my friends to get them to help me clean it out and make it livable (not an exaggeration, folks).

A few days later, I finally felt comfortable enough to walk around without shoes on and was settled into the new space. Again, my hopes were high. But 48 hours of happiness was unacceptable, I guess, because then you decided my dog needed some new friends: fleas. We do plan on getting Jack a friend at some point and appreciate the gesture, but we were thinking more along the lines of a second dog. Not fleas.

This called for a trip to Wal-Mart and almost $100 later, I had stocked up on every flea product they sold on top of purchasing new bedding. That night was spent washing all clothes and linens, giving Jack a flea treatment (which he wanted NOTHING to do with), and spraying down every inch of the room with flea spray.  I then had to continue this spray down ritual every day for over a week until the itching finally stopped and we were able to move on.

At this point, it had only been three weeks and you had already seriously overstayed your welcome. I needed some time to myself, to regroup, and take a moment to breathe and devise a plan to move forward. You went away for a week and, honestly, it was one of the best weeks of my life.  Everything felt calm and under control.

Then one morning, you decided to make one last appearance. After going to bed at 4 a.m., I was woken up three hours later to turkeys outside my bedroom window. No joke. Turkeys. I gave up sleeping after listening to them for a straight hour. After a very long, exhausting day, I decided to treat myself to my favorite ice cream: Chunky Monkey.

I was so excited to have some wine and eat my goodies. But you had other plans. Right as I went to take the first bite, Jack hopped up into my lap and the entire carton fell upside down onto the carpet.

Needless to say, I would love a few weeks off from company.

Yours truly,


About the Author

Keating Bartlett
Keating Bartlett is a military wife of two years, PR student at SNHU, blogger at High Heels & Combat Boots, and a freelance writer. Her husband has been in the U.S. Marine Corps for five years now and they are currently enduring a year long separation while he is stationed overseas. Her blog focuses on married life, military life, and everything in between. You can keep up with their life by visiting or follow her on Twitter at @keatingbartlett.
  • Christina

    Thank you for the good laugh today! I honestly empathize with you right now. I am in the middle of a PCS, and Murphy’s Law is in full effect this whole month. I am typing this statement surrounded by boxes and household goods we thought would be moved earlier in the week. My mom and brother-in-law are in town and watching my 15-month-old daughter while the moving company keeps changing our dates and plans. There are only so many days they can walk around the only mall here in town, haha. We are stationed in the worst duty station we’ve ever lived, and we’re looking forward to new adventures back in our hometown in a few days. All I can say is hang in there. It does get better! :)

    • HI Christina! I’m so glad I could make you laugh! It was definitely a rough few weeks. He’s now been gone for two months and it’s gotten a bit easier since then. I wish you the best of luck with your move!

  • Military Retired

    It is a life that can not compare with anything on the outside. On those transfers that you will be able to go along you will see many parts of Our Country, With may others all over the world. In each you will meet FRIENDS that will all ways be a part of you. Some will be in touch the rest of your life others you will meet on another base. You may have children born on different bases and maybe even different countries. These children will go to many different schools and again meet new friends. But they will be well rounded and be able to make new friends where ever they are. For all your Murphys being on a military base will help a lot. You will find many people that can help fix something or know someone that can. At the same time keep you from paying to much to fix a problem. Your cost for the computer and the fleas seem to be too much. If you are close to a Military base check out the wives club.

    • Hello! Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post! This life has definitely been an adjustment to say the least. I’ve met some incredible people along the way and I wouldn’t trade any moment of it for anything. Unfortunately, I am nowhere near a military base currently. My husband got stationed overseas and unfortunately, the Marine Corps wouldn’t let me stay in our home on base (even though it’s very likely we’ll be moving right back when he returns). So I’m now living in our home state to be closer to family. I definitely wish (and would prefer) to be closer to the military community for the additional support. My computer is a MacBook so unfortunately, it’s going to be pricey no matter what the issue is haha we made it work. As for the fleas, we take our dog to Banfield in Petsmart and our home state only has two locations, both 2+ hours away. So I was unable to get his flea medications and everything for free. We got through it though and everything has been great for a few weeks now :)

      • boxerrebellion1

        Just FYI, if the infestation was so bad that you had to spray daily, you might find yourself fighting the fleas again soon with a new cycle. For a bad infestation, the best thing is professional pest control. We had a dog that was allergic to fleas, so of course if there was one within 50 miles, it would find her…. she managed to have a problem on an overseas Base that had NO other flea issues (our dog was the only one… sigh). One thing that helped was keeping a flea collar in the vacuum bag (when eggs got vacuumed up, if they hatched, they died. Also, we had a lot of luck with Program brand (it’s been 13 years since we had to deal with it – when she passed at the ripe age of 13, our next dog didn’t have as much of a problem… and when we returned to that previous ‘no flea’ Base? nary a one!); although it comes in a liquid that is applied on the tail bone and between the shoulders, we preferred the tablet…. it’s sort of like a treat and the dog would beg for them… to the point she wanted to take MY medication that was shrink wrapped!

  • Meg

    This stuff is supposed to distract you from your pain. Embrace the distraction!
    I came home from dropping my husband off for deployment to find that it smelled like there was a decaying corpse in my apartment. Found the offender (a rotting chicken sandwich in the trash), tossed it, then promptly got a computer virus. Decided to embrace the nonsense and gamely spent the next day getting rid of the virus, and guess what? No more bad luck! The next EIGHT MONTHS went swimmingly (except for the part where the deployment extended from 7 to 8 months…). We made a ton of money, paid off our debts, and haven’t had a deployment since.