Chipotle Care Package

Image(Originally written 22 May)

Okay, well, I’m going to start fresh on packages. My first three were sent in a hurry, not photographed for posterity, and were mostly odds and ends of things like soap, odor neutralizers (for that pesky raw sewage), web gear pouch, and Starbucks Via. I did a Chinese takeout and a Movie theme box that was pretty cool (I mean, I think so, not that DH has actually laid eyes on it yet 21 days later). And there was the “guess the theme” box, which, between you and me was coconuts (curry coconut soup, coconut water, coconut cliff bars, coconut m&ms, sausalito cookies, coconut oil sunburn cream, etc).

Okay USPS+Army, I will wipe the slate clean with this new (and God willing final) address change. This will be a piece de resistance for my Coloradan who makes an annual pilgrimage to the original Chipotle in Denver. Just a note of awesomeness: the large flat rate boxes from USPS are 12″x12″, as are scrapbook paper pages. I bought a clearance package of 50 totally random sheets, which happened to have a holiday theme (candy corn paper, yes thank you!), and when folded in half, with a touch of rubber cement each sheet will cover one side-plus-inside-flap area, and I cover the bottom of the box with the week’s comic section from the Sunday paper. Another note of awesomeness: aluminum foil is also 12″, and therefore perfect for a Chipotle theme box. Special thanks to the ladies at Chipotle who gave me a few extra sheets of their logo parchment paper to pack the box with, and of course some napkins.

Normally I hate processed foods and so couponing isn’t very fun because it’s a real challenge to get a kick ass deal on healthy food. Now that shelf-stable highly processed foods are pretty much the most reliable food to survive the trip overseas, I’m in coupon heaven. Many of these items were either doubled coupons plus sale or buy one get one free at Publix. The contents are chipotle Tobasco sauce, an Old El Paso burrito kit, refried beans, and tortilla stuffers (those things have chunks of meat!), individual Chi-Chi’s salsa packs, Doritos, chicken and quinoa poblano soup, Slim Jims Dare pepper jerkey, Frontera tomatillo enchilada sauce, hickory tuna, hot tamales, and key lime chocolate coconut squares, Crystal Light margarita (with Margaritaville pvc-free cup for shaking). And sunscreen, yum. Banana Boat=Banana=Plantain=Platanos Fritos=Mexican, I win. Okay back to business. Well, I guess I’m pretty much done for now. Box decorating tips soon!

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If I’ve inspired you to send a box o’ love of your own, the USPS will send you a kit for FREE, and there is a discount on large priority mail boxes to APO addresses (score). Request your FREE Military Care package kit by calling 1-800-610-8734. Select your language (1 is English, 2 is Spanish). Select option 1 (it states it is for Express Mail®, Priority Mail or Global Express Guaranteed® products). When you reach a live agent, request CAREKIT04, the “Military Kit.”  Allow 7-10 days for delivery. You can request up to 4 kits.

One Year Later

Ah, well, I guess one year to the day from my last blog post (arrival at Ft. Campbell) is as good a time to start as ever. A lot has happened in a year, some ups, some downs. The Man is now DH, we got married a while back. 2.7 weeks after our wedding he deployed to the ‘stan and here we are! The house has been painted and furnished, fence installed, organic garden built, two dogs rescued, cupboards and closets filled to the gills with our crap. I started my clinical internship, am now the fundraising chair for the local pastoral counseling center, and a point of contact for the battalion family readiness group. DH has changed jobs 6 times, 2 of them in theater now. It has been a wild ride and I have been mostly able to cowgirl up.

Fact: I hate mowing the lawn. Our apple trees and veggies LOVE the rain/sun/rain thing going on–I’m starting to think I’d rather buy produce at the commissary and not have to mow the lawn three times in two weeks to keep it under 5″ high. Fact: all but two of my female friends here have deployed with DH. Fact: it is addictive to coupon for themed care package items. Fact: my faith and my to-do list will see me through. Fact: I have an amazing support system of friends and family behind me, and whenever I am tempted to feel lonely, I have this incredible box put together by one of my bridesmaids that has letters of encouragement from the guests at our wedding to read on the bad days. It is perhaps the greatest gift a military wife could receive. I have burned through 6 letters so far, and I’m praying that God in His infinite wisdom has put the crappiest stuff up front so that the rest of the deployment feels like a breeze. It has been one crisis after another for weeks on end, to the point that honestly, a “normal” deployment would feel refreshing.

Relief is on the way soon, I pray. It’s the smallest things during a deployment…DH’s watch got stolen his third day, and we have been, ever since, trying to replace it. A watch seems like a small thing until you live in a place without clocks, or cell phones, or alarms, or any way to tell time or be woken up when you need to get up. They don’t sell watches at the AFEES at the big FOB, his address was given to us wrong so the first replacement watch I sent was lost for a couple extra weeks getting re-directed, and might, God willing, be getting to him in the next day or two thanks to a good friend at another COP. Then he moved to a new site and didn’t have an address so I couldn’t send another until he found out he would be leaving there too! It is the most powerless feeling to know the person you love more than life itself is suffering because he needs something he cannot obtain for himself and no effort you make can overpower the Army mess to get him what he needs. When life revolves around a watch and all letters and packages have not reached him for weeks, and he cannot establish a home base or routine or friendships with new people since being pulled away from his team for a “mission critical” job, you can see how things we take for granted every day become crises when they are missing, 7000 miles from home. And of course, I’m a sweat the small stuff kind of gal. I trust God beyond all measure to be with and guide my husband and be his stronghold in times of trouble. I do not live in fear for his safety. It’s a lot harder to trust God to get a stupid freaking watch to him.

Time for work, more later.