Hubby of mine is a Veteran. A former Sergeant Major in the 22nd Cheshire Regiment. He still retains so many of his army ethics and like many families of ex-squaddies I’m sure, his ethics drive me and the kids bloody crackers!
The kids and I have happily maintained a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-yer-pants’ approach for years; until my man came along. These days though, our blank-faced responses to questions starting with “Where?” and shrug shoulders replies to “What?” and in particular, the “Meh, whatever” disinterest and general “umm…” attitudes have proved to be a source of massive annoyance to Mr Regimented, Orderly, Fold Stuff Neatly, Read the Instruction Manual, Knows How to Read a Map, Sergeant Major Man.
Hubby believes he can train us up. We believe he will give up and chill out eventually! Don’t tell him but, as he sits outside in the car, revving the engine to indicate that ‘on time’ was 10 minutes ago, we plod leisurely round the house, gathering the last bits of essentials, amused that he thinks the pressure tactic will work in any way, shape or form. Truth is, if he rushes us then we forget important things and then he flips out when we have to do a U-turn 20 minutes later for things like shoes, coats, purses, a child (only forgot him once)… etc.
Whilst on the car subject. Parking. Why does a squaddie drive round the car park / street/ cul’d’sac passing a number of spaces, in order to ensure the car is facing the ‘right’ direction at leaving time? Me – I see a space, I park in it. Done.
While I’m on a roll, its worth me taking the chance to beef about scenery. Just for once, it would be nice if I could sit with a view of the room when on a date. I know, I’ve heard all about it that a squaddie will always sit where he can see the exits and full view of his/her surroundings but I mean, come on, there are only so many walls a girl can stand to look at. Me thinks its still a ploy so that he can eye up the ladies without risking a rollocking! hhmmm…And adding to this, it would be nice to get home from said dates without him having a full on egg banjo orgy.
Now, my fella left the army nearly 20 years ago (yes, we have a bit of an age gap) but surely by now he would be past the Meerkat phase? Every single noise makes him bolt upright and stand to attention like a Meerkat in the terrain, listening to see if its friend or foe; usually its nothing more than the dishwasher changing cycle. It’s amazing how he can hear a pin drop and with lightening reflexes take on full Rambo-face shoot to kill expression but he cant hear bum all I say to him when I get home from work
Hoping for sympathy from fellow Veteran’s wives at the annual Chester Races event is non-existent. Yes, I’m 20 years younger than my man but the quiet acceptance of the wives proves me to be 20 years naïve too. As I listen to the fascinating stories of these men’s years in Belize, Northern Ireland, Hong Kong and further, it reminds me that Hubby’s pedantic, get on your nerves regulations are not simply him trying to ‘fix us’, nor is he out of touch with ‘Civvie chillaxing’. The training is ingrained in him and his comrades. This mentality of Preparation, Perception and Order is what kept him and his fellow soldiers alive!
I will never know the horrors that these men and women have known. I am thankful that these service men and women have risked so much and worked so hard; my children and I wouldn’t have the luxury of “meh” without their sacrifices, and so it is with this in mind and the words Thorough Planning and Preparation Prevent a Piss Poor Performance touretting in my brain, I went to Chester Military Museum to buy him the 22nd Regiment sweatshirt that he has been wanting – in preparation for his Christmas present. Well done me 🙂
Although the regiment is no longer, having been amalgamated into One Mercian regiment, the pride and respect for this regiment stands proud. Acknowledgement for the 22nd’s Commander in Chief Prince Charles resolutely displayed.
On the drive home, I thought about how the kids and I rejoiced at the subtle changes in Hubby’s behaviours recently. No freaking out about a lack of tent poles during a camping holiday, ironing pilling high without causing heart failure, cars looking like kiddie battlefields and gardens overgrown. These no longer seemed like victories in our favour!
As much as I feign irritation at the horrified look on his face, each time I reach into the wardrobe and rob one of his precision ironed t-shirts from his folded, stacked so neatly you could balance a perfectly measured spirit-level on them pile, I’d be gutted to have to go back to ironing my own clothes myself! In all seriousness though, my man is who he is because of the Army. The life he lived before us is one to be proud of! If he did finally do as we hoped and just “chill out dude” then he would be a completely different man; and that would be our loss!
I love the man he is now, squaddie humour and all, and more importantly, as my daughter pointed out the other day, “we are never late for school anymore and we always know where are shoes are now”.