Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Flu Blues

Well, it was bound to happen. After running around doing everything, something finally gave. I got the flu. But who couldn't see it coming? Running non-stop for 12-14 hours a day for four days in a row, pulling an all nighter last weekend, working in 95 degree weather, followed by freezing my butt off in an a/c office building....

In the past six months, I've had two bouts of food poisoning, a UTI, and now the flu. Grrr.. I'm mad. Mad because I usually don't get sick. Mad because I know this is from stress. Mad because I don't want to get sick while I'm away on my trip. All this madness is stressing me out, haha!

But I digress...

On the bright side, I haven't been pressured into doing chores, and mom want me to feel better before Friday when Craig comes to visit. Only three days away! Perhaps some pictures are in order for this little ol' blog of mine! Another busy weekend awaits!

Update on my A.I. class. So I was getting pretty frustrated on the last day. The first two days went fine, but for some reason on the last day, I just wasn't "on my game." As the trainers said, it's more a mind game than an actual skill. And it is. If you think you're not going to do a good job, then you aren't. It's as simple as that. So a few nights ago, I got to breed four cows at home. They were much easier to breed than the ones at the meat packing plant, because they were actually in heat and wanted to be bred. I was pretty excited that this whole breeding business is easier than I thought! Now I've gotta wait at least a month to see if they're actually pregnant.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bovine Rendezvous

I have an all day rendezvous with the bovine species tomorrow. Let me give you a run-down of my schedule:
5:30am Milk cows
8:00am Meet at meat packing plant (sounds better than slaughter house, right?) to breed cows for the AI class I'm taking
4:30pm Find something to do in Shawano before meeting, probably milking cows at Matt's
8:00pm Dairy judging contest and young farmer's potluck at Matt's
12:00am Go to bed
5:30am Milk Cows
8:00am Meet at meat packing plant to breed cows
4:30pm Milk cows
8:00pm Rest, finally!

Ok, so two days, yikes! Gotta love staying busy, that's for sure. Also news to report, Craig bought plane tickets home for 4th of July weekend. Yay!

He's really getting fustrated. Typically, it takes two weeks to "phase up," meaning if you meet certain requirements, you get more privlages. It's now on week four. A higher-up was supposed to check all of his gear, lockers, and such last week, but she got busy. They told him tomorrow, but now it's looking like that might not happen either. He's doing what he's supposed to, it's just that things aren't going his way. Today he worked at the go-cart track on post. I told him that sounded like fun. He said basically it was him and two other guys sitting in the hot sun for eight hours. Only one family came the whole time and spent only 20 mintues there. I beleive the heat index is 105 degrees where he's at.

So back to talking about me, haha. I'm looking forward to taking this artifical insemination course because I hope to use the skill when I'm over in New Zealand. Also, I hope that it becomes a mobile job that I can take with me as I move from place to place. It's wishful thinking, but I'm preparing myself anyway. I'll keep you updated on how it goes these next couple days.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Playing Farmer

It's been almost two days since dad went into surgery. Nothing major, but he'll be laid up for awhile. He's supposed to be on bed rest, but I caught him in the barn, trying to put straw in the gutter behind a cow. Don't ask me why he thought this was necessary. We did allow him to tinker with the weed whacker though, because I'm pretty sure that man is going nuts just sitting around in the house. He joked, "So this is how the other half lives..."

So mom and us kids have been doing chores. So far so good, other than me not setting the wash cycle in between a milking. Oh, and me overfeeding hay... but that's an ok mistake; I think anyway. It's been weird with the barn being so quiet at night and during the day lately!

I've been able to talk to Craig every night. We tried using the webcam, but we keep getting disconnected. Plus, I think it's weird that we just sit and stare at each other. I just make funny faces and laugh. We really don't have much to talk about these days. Same old from both parties, so we discuss mundane details about our days. He says he enjoys it, then makes fun of it. He's not in classes yet, so they make him do things like trim weeds and pick up trash. Reminds me of those inmates that go around at the county fair and pick up trash. I wonder if they give him a sack and a stick with a nail at the end of it..haha.

All I got for now. Busy day tomorrow!

Monday, June 8, 2009


So I mentioned in one of my last posts that I would go into more detail in to the whole changing my return ticket. So I have some options.

- Since my Visa lasts one year, I can extend my stay for up to one year. From what I've been told, it'll be 6 months of hard work, and then after that things wind down on the farms, and there's vacation time because all the cows are dry, since they seasonally calve in New Zealand. My contact person, Job, said that 80% of people stay the entire year and use the second half of the trip to travel. NZ has some pretty good hostels, much like in Europe.

- However... I've also told Craig that I don't think I could do it. I told him I didn't want to go. I miss him. I hate flying. I'm scared and full of lots of anxiety about the whole traveling part. He told me not to waste the ticket, get there, see how it goes, and I can always come back whenever I want. Yeah ok, it's not that I'm scared to be there, I'm scared to actually get there.

- I also learned that after mid-August, Craig can live out of the barracks if I'm there to live with him. Hmmmm, that changes things a bit. He's going to be there until at least December. I guess I planned my NZ trip with the assumption that I wouldn't really see him until Dec/Jan anyway. Am I really one of those women that's going to throw it away for a man?! Ugh, what am I turning into?

So that's where I'm at with the whole thing. Let me go into the flying thing. I've proabaly taken six trips on a plane in my life. It was only the last one where I had huge issues. I think it might have been better if I was traveling with someone I knew. Also, I've been having alot of anxeity lately. Is it because of the whole trip looming in the future? Is it because of a major lifestyle changes in the past four month? Is it mourning the loss of my Grandpa? I hope that it's not a "gut feeling" that something bad is going to happen. People fly everyday. Get over it. I wish I could...

Any comments/reassurances would be appreciated.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Common bonds

For the past few months, I feel like I'm in the dark about a lot of things that are going on with Craig because communication has pretty much been non-existent due to being in basic training. Letters took 4 days, so by the time I sent mine asking a question, he responded, and then it got sent, so it was about 9-10 days before I knew an answer to a question. I found a message board a couple days ago, and I've been hooked ever since.

Army Wife Chat

I've found out so much about what's been going on by asking around, and have even met (online) a few people who have significant others starting training at Ft. Gordon. Plus, there's plenty of people going through the same things/feelings I have been. Ah, it feels so nice!

Now with Craig being at AIT (Advanced Individualized Training) I can talk to him every night, and hopefully once he gets settle in, he'll be able to use the internet. And then I'll never leave my laptop!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

NZ details

50 days until New Zealand! So let me give you a little rundown of my schedule. I depart Chicago O'Hare on July 24th and end up in Auckland on July 26th.

From there, I'll get used to the time difference and head to Matamata, NZ. More time for jet lag, some introductions to the country, culture, farming practices, banking, etc. So after a 3 day stay, I'll set off for my first farm. Not sure where it's going to be, but I know I'll be at three to four different farms during my stay throughout the country. I did put in a request to work at a goat dairy, but their kidding season doesn't line up with the calving season, shucks!

So I'll stay at the first farm the longest, working my butt off calving in hundreds of cows. Average farm is 500 cows, and it's not as diverse as in WI. (You know, you'll see a 1000 cow freestall barn down the road from a 30 cow stanchion barn...) At least this is the impression that I get from the research I've done, so I'll keep you posted if my assumptions are correct.

Housing is provided at the farms, and it said no one has complained about their accommodations, so I'm not worried. Oh, you should check out the website!

Marvin Farms

My return flight is booked for January 27th. I actually arrive an hour earlier than when I leave. :-) I've heard from travelers that the trip to NZ is ok, but the flight back to the US is brutal! Not looking forward to any of that because:

1)I hate sitting for long periods of time. I hate reading or watching movies for long periods of time. Or playing games for that matter.

2)It's a 20 hour trip, and there ain't no stopping for rest breaks.

3)I HATE flying. I feel like I'm on a death bus... at least in my car I have some control, so even if I get into a crash, it's somewhat my fault. Weird, I know. I get very panicy and anxious before I go on a plane. Before I flew out of Augusta last week, I sat in a bathroom stall freaking out and crying. I think small commuter planes bother me more than big ones. All I have to keep telling myself is that if the flight attendant is doing ok, I'm doing ok.

My visa lasts for up to a year, so I have until July 2010 before I have to return. To change the plane ticket is only $150, so if I need to return early or stay longer, I certainly can. More on that later...

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A little background for ya'll

Let's get everyone up to speed here... I guess the best place to start would be three years ago.

Ah, it was spring, 2006. The world was my oyster. (ugh, for being an ag journalism major, this intro sucks... Susan Lampert Smith would be ashamed). So I apologize for my rusty writing skills. Anyway, I graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006. I majored in Dairy Science and Life Science Communications (insert weird face/awkwardness here.. every hair dresser I've ever known has given me this face when I describe my career). I got a pretty nice job with Land O' Lakes as a Dairy Production Specialist (more weird faces, I can tell). So pretty much, I was contracted through a local cooperative to sell feed and provide nutritional consulting to farmers. It was only coincidence it was only 45 minutes from my hometown.

Meanwhile.. (I feel like Carrie Bradshaw here.. honestly, count how many times she says "meanwhile" in an episode of Sex and the City), my boyfriend Craig was in Madison, unsure of his future. See, a few month prior to my graduation, I found out through snooping, that Craig was failing out of school. Let me lay this down for you- this was his fifth year of school. Imagine my frustration.. let it fester a bit..

I moved to Northeast WI, he stayed in Madison, taking a summer to figure out what to do. And then, I realized I missed him.. and loved him... So, he moved in with me. It was a hard decision. I really didn't want to unless I got a commitment. It was pretty much all or nothing. And he was very aware of that.

Our first "date" He looks like such a baby!

After taking a year off, he enrolled at another college close to where we lived. Meanwhile, my job was clicking along...fun and frustrating as it was. As time went by, it got more frustrating than fun. I was thinking back to my senior year of high school one day. I was being interviewed for a scholarship. I remember it clearly. I could sense it was the end of the interview. I was getting antsy. Then, the interviewer said, "Ok, one last question. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?" Uhhhhh... what? Look lady, my parents are dairy farmers. We only go far enough to be back for night chores... I don't know.. I don't think about that kind of stuff... but what I really said, "I would love to go to Australia." And then I proceeded to explain about learning about the dairy industry, blah blah blah. Really, I loved watching "The Rescuers Down Under" as a kid, but it worked. I won the money anyway... and since then, I've always kept Australia in the back of my mind.

In college, I had an opportunity to go to NZ for a summer internship. Having already signed on for a local internship, I passed, giving the opportunity to a former roommate, who I believe needed it more than I did at the time.

So anyway, one day, I was having a crap-tacular day at work, so I was thinking about going as far away as possible, and thought about my spur of the moment interview answer. I googled "dairy industry Australia" and after some research, I had myself convinced that I should quit my job and go to New Zealand.

What about the boy?

So I told him one night. Probably after some wine. His reaction: "What about me?" I said he could come with, or he could stay and figure something out. We left it at that. But it always lingered in my mind...

While my career felt like it wasn't going anywhere, our relationship wasn't going so well. He was obviously not happy with school or his career path. We were not happy with our individual lives, which affected our together life.

One night, a couple days before Thanksgiving, shit hit the fan. It was time for a change, or go our separate ways. Neither of us wanted to call it quits. Then he told me he was thinking about joining the military.

So, with one semester left of school, Craig enlisted. And for the first time in over a year, he was happy. And things were different. And our relationship was better.

By February, I had applied for my Visa and looked seriously into NZ. I knew I needed to quit my job. I had no motivation to sell stuff anymore because I knew I had no future there.

On March 17th, 2009, he left for Basic Combat Training at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. No green beer for you, buddy...

By April, I had quit my job, and made the slow move back to my parent's house. It hit me more than I ever could imagined. The past three months have been rough, no doubt! I've been adjusting to the realization of military life for the next 4+ years and the fear of traveling so far away.

Before I leave on July 24th, most of this will focus on the Army portion and preparing for my trip, and afterward should be all about my NZ adventure. So bare with me!


I've decided to join the blog world for a couple reasons. First, I would like to have a place to document my trip to New Zealand. That way, it'll be easier for me to direct all my friends and family to one place to look at all the pictures and to see what I'm up to. So, hopefully I'll keep up with this!

Secondly, with my boyfriend joining the Army, it would be nice to have a place to document how that's going. Triumphs, worries, venting, the whole shabang. Not sure how cohesive this is going to be, but I certainly won't be making two blogs!

I'll follow up with this by giving you a little background.