Nobody could have known -- it was unknowable! (word credit, Minoy) I submit to you guys, that it totally seemed like a brilliant and rational idea at the time....
So I decided to go to Baghdad (and when I say "decided" I mean was told, "You'll be going to Baghdad this summer. You may want to pack light...") in the summer of 2004. Back when the Iraq war was still semi-cool...back before they even elected a their first "government."
I also decided (after a year of being engaged) that I should get married at the end of that tour on my mother's birthday (see previous post for more info on my choice of date - I don't know how to link a post, do your own damn work).
I mean, it was brilliant!! - I'd be rich (and therefore able to pay for the whole thing so that my family would have no say in my plannin') and I'd have tons o'vacation time because I would have homeleave at the end of my tour (homeleave is the leave they give you after you finish a tour so that you can become an American again - God help us if the diplomats go native! How the hell would we be uppity!?)
What could possibly go wrong?
A few things I never saw coming and, therefore, didn't plan for:
(a) While in the warzone, you end up working 24/7, 7 days a week and there is no such thing as downtime. Turns out, that when forced to work AND live with my co-workers, I literally end up hating almost everyone and turn into the crabbiest of biatches ever to walk the face of the earth. SERIOUSLY people! By the end of my tour I was either irrationally angry about something or on the verge of tears -- those were my two "moods." (most people prayed for tears)
(b) It is difficult to plan your wedding from Iraq. Turns out the time difference and not being able to be there tend to impact your planning ability. AND, amazingly enough - your family and friends might not actually care that you got all up on your high horse and decided to pay for the whole thing yourself -- they will still spout their opinions!
(c) Minoy was in the warzone; as such, you may tend to feed off of each others' bat shit craziness and find yourself eating an entire bowl of mushroom gravy for dinner because you totally thought it was soup (in our defense, they made a large soup pot of gravy....there was no "meat" or "potatoes" to put the gravy on, and the pot was placed where the soup usually sits. ANYONE could have made the same mistake -- PLUS, it was kinda yummy...and clearly our gravy levels were dangerously low).
(d) Your life becomes focused on trying to figure out if it was "Mexican Day" at the chow hall because (other than gravy night) it was the only food you could physically swallow in that damn place (note to self: not being able to physically swallow the food and walking around with body armor in 130 degree heat is an EXCELLENT diet plan. To do: open fat camp in Iraq; Write weight loss book; Count your money!)
(e) At some point near the end of your tour after yet another person tells you that an 8 pm wedding is not convenient for them, and could you change it to 7 so that their kids could get to bed at a decent hour (after which - in a fit of rage - you declare NO KIDS allowed at your wedding - and you're still paying for that decision to this day) you scream at Josh over the phone not to even ASK you for a divorce because you're NEVER going through this shit again! EVER!!! (PS...Josh is a saint, I totally would have left me by now.)
(f) If you plan your wedding date itself for less than 7 days after you PCS back to the states, you will still be under the influence of your "moods." And, after one year of washing your hair in water that sits in tanks with chlorine in them and walking around in the harsh sun, your lovely brown hair will turn Orange (as if you used sun-in to try to give yourself those "Duran Duran" chunks of color that seemed like such a good idea back when you were in Junior High school). You might also find yourself screaming at the lady in the hair salon because "what part of NO RED and NO BLONDE did you not understand?!" until you see your mother's horrified face in the mirror and you realize that you have created this HUGE scene in a Spokane, Washington salon - so you storm out in a huff and stop at the store and buy a "DAMN BOX" and color it your own damn self -- medium brown -- however, HOW HARD IS THAT?!! It's BROWN you idiot! (SEE! I'm still angry about it to this day..BROWN! This is not rocket science!)
AND, the most egregious of all....
(g) You are not able to go to cake tastings - you will have to allow your MOTHER and SISTER to do this for you - and it is WELL KNOWN that they are not qualified to be cake tasters - they have not made it their life's work to become the greatest cake taster of all time! And that, my friends is an unspeakable outrage!!!
Sometimes? I'm Judgmental. Also, Seattle!
13 hours ago