It’s started

Hagar is back in the cockpit and with it starts the unpredictability of our life. Big deep breath and the ‘super chilled I can handle anything you throw at me’ head has to be dusted off. The job comes first, that is the facts of life that I never take on, or contest. The function of the support we give is that we never question the job and we work around it.

I had a fairly busy day yesterday, with a bit of juggling. The Menace (2yr old daughter) was with her childminder, The Grenade at school. I had few press releases to get out, some domestic admin, and at 5.30pm I needed to be at the school for a parent briefing from the head, and then at 7.30pm, I had confirmed that I would attend a ladies dinner night at the Mess. A fellow wifelette’s husband had been posted and this would be our last opportunity to catch up before she is catapulted into another county. Hagar was flying but had said he would be back by 7pm. He knew that he needed to be back so I could go out and there were no issues, it was simply a matter of co-ordinating the timings.

At 10am, I receive a call ‘the cab’s gone tits.’ (translation = the helicopter is broken)
“Right.” I paused.
“I haven’t left yet, the ETA is pushed back. I won’t be home until 8.30pm.”
“Right.” I said.
“I’ll call if it changes.” click.

Ok now , I am re-jiggling in my head. I text my friend, who lives on station because we live off base. Now I am thinking that it might be best to collect The Menace at 5pm, and bring her to the parent briefing because it seems unfair to pick her up at 7pm, and then dump her with The Bear, who will now be juggling 5 kids (including my 2). So instead I’ll drag her along to the briefing, which will make it marginally stressful; newbie mum (me, we have just been posted, so we are the new kids on this school circuit) flying solo at a parent gig, with rogue 2 year old and The Grenade leaping around the fields like a gazelle on speed. I am not changing the childminder yet though so the text is a holding plan B to milly mum, who will be flexible without being irritated by any further change to the plan.

“Mate Hagar not back until 8pm any chance The Bear will watch my kids for an hour from 7.30pm when he gets back to station. Or even that I come to yours and handover at yours to save me an hour. xxx”

She replied, “Sure that will be fine, bring them to us. See you at 7.30 x”

At 3.30pm, the phone rang,
“Hi, it’s me. The cab is still US (pronounced Yoo Ess – translation – the helicopter is still broken) but we are scheduled to lift (take off) at 5.30pm but I won’t be back until 10pm”
“Well, call me if you are lifting then”
“I can’t call you if we are lifting because I’ll be sat in the seat (translation – the seat of the cockpit) and if we go, we go. I’ll call you at 5.30pm if we don’t go. It’s the best I can do.’
“How optimistic are you feeling about going?” I asked.
“I think we’ll go, it’s only a box” (Sorry no translation, that’s all of I got and I wasn’t looking for a mechanical analysis)

Now, I am thinking, ‘Shit! 10pm, that changes everything. Now I need a babysitter instead.’ I called a friend whose daughter babysits and she didn’t answer. Do I dump the kids on The Bear on the pretext that its an 8.30pm pick up so that it’s 8.30pm collection and just load him up with DVD material that’ll keep them both occupied? Fortunately, my kids are insomniacs and it has it’s benefits – they don’t need sleep in the ways some kids do.

At 4.30pm, I get myself ready for my parent briefing dinner/night out and rustle up an outfit that can carry both events. I throw on some make up and start gathering PJ’s and DVDs. I am opting for leave them with The Bear and see how it plays out. Experience has taught me never to set your life by the timings.

4.45pm the phone rings; “we’ve shit canned it. I can pick The Menace up at 5.30pm’.

‘Phew!’ I ring the childminder and let her know that Hagar will collect The Menace at 5.30pm. I text my friend, “Cab US no babysitter required x”

I think, as I jump in the car, and head to school for my briefing, ‘it’s started, the beginning of the chaos and no control.”


  1. Don’t you just love it??? LOL! No! It’s difficult to ever make plans because you don’t know if they will ever stay the same. I mean, planning an evening is hard, let alone trying to plan a future! I’m glad things worked out though and you were able to go out. I hope you had a great time at dinner with your friend!

    1. Future? Thankfully, I am not a planner! I had a nice little 6 months were things have been consistent but it’s all going to go topsy turvy again and I need to get myself back into the swing of it! Yes – was lovely dinner thanks, so it was all good.

  2. I have just learned as a military wife EVERYTHING is subject to change. at a moments notice. with no reason. or just cause. it just is how it is.

  3. Firstly, thank you for sharing all the vocab! It’s fascinating! It must be very difficult these days top be able to change arrangements so quickly. I know even in my small non-military circles, people can suddenly not make it. Just as well we’re adaptable & have these ‘movable feast’ thinking heads!

    1. Yes, there is lots of vocab and TLA’s (three letter abbreviations). I’ll try and keep you in the loop. I just have to stay dynamic – it can be quite tiring, sometimes I need a foot and back rub!

  4. I thank god I was never trying to run a family around that the environment when I was in it. I don’t know how you manage with all the unpredictability of it, it’s hard enough with the small amount of chaos that comes from running your life around the weather and seasons when living with a fisherman. But of course you do manage, what else can you do?

    1. Well I did try sitting under the table rocking and drinking but it was very unproductive so I opted for freestyle through it and always line up a long list of reliable babysitters for back up needs.

  5. Unsure whether observations from male readers are welcome, but I would say this: I long ago realised that women are the true masters of the universe and, as a result, my life has been so much more peaceful ever since. My children are all grown and gone now but I continue to tip my hat in respect, I really do.

    A RM WO1 once said to me (in drunken secrecy) that wives and girlfriends were the backbone of 3 Commando Brigade.

  6. Yes, Caratacus always welcome, please return often. Indeed that hat tippage is very sage and graciously received. The battle with men folk is still silently waged – tonight I humblerly declare 2-0 to Hagar at Backgammon – and I taught him everything he knows! Damn the red wine mistress!

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