Life is as crazy as crazy gets these days. Our house is up for rent. We have a million and one appointments. I’m running from place to place for meetings, language class, and appointments feeding Freya and changing diapers in between, usually while on the phone trying to change my address.
I went jogging this morning, and a bit of a strange thought struck me. My life today, as a mom getting ready to move to the other side of the world is remarkably similar to how it was 12 years ago as a 19 year old going through recruit term at the Royal Military College (RMC). While everyone at normal university (Civy U) was taking part in Frosh week, frequenting the local bars and having what I always imagined to be the time of their lives, military college kids went through a 6 week recruit term. Between classes, my first 6 weeks of University were filled with 5 AM wake-up calls, room inspections, Physical Training (PT) and general harassment. We wore horribly unflattering uniforms, and didn’t dream of wearing make-up. We shined our shoes, and knew our classmates only by their college number and last name.
Surprise Inspections – Our house is up for rent. I have two messy kids and I don’t have a reputation for being a neat freak. We are in the throes of inventory which for me means emptying a drawer, inventorying and pricing every item, and putting it all neatly back. These days, other than Umizoomi, Max’s favourite form of entertainment is dumping all of his toys out of all of their bins and throwing them around the room. You can imagine the dread that sets in when my phone rings and “good news” someone wants to see our house, and what do you know, they happen to be in the area and could they just drop by for a few minutes. Luckily recruit term taught me that it is indeed possible to hide everything in a matter of minutes, and with a last spray of Pledge you can fool the nose of the most OCD of inspectors (or potential home renters). All that remains is hoping they don’t open your cupboards or drawers…or that that nice Pledge shine doesn’t cause someone to march across the floor and suddenly find themselves flying across it.
I swear it didn’t look like this when I left Despite how hard I tried to keep my room perfect back at RMC, sometimes weird things happened and I still swear it wasn’t my fault. One time, for example, I came back from dinner and my bed was gone. I went into the hallway and started explaining that “really my bed was gone”. Everyone gave me their typical eye rolls and sighs “There Nicole goes losing everything”. “No really guys, my bed is gone – come look”. Down the hallway one of the
evil make my life hell staff couldn’t control his giggling as he gathered everyone around to explain that I had done a shit job (as always) of making my bed, so the whole sleep-deprived flight could spend the evening looking for it…oh and surprise inspection tomorrow, and you can blame Nicole as now you won’t have anytime to prepare. Eventually we found the mattress on the roof, and bits and pieces scattered around the college grounds. Some keener whose bed was always perfect was recruited to give me lessons of what a proper bed should look like. I think at that point I just got smart and said “why don’t you make my bed and then the whole flight won’t be stuck spending an evening looking for it”. Although these days Max probably couldn’t take the bed apart and hide the mattress on the roof, he has an incredible ability to tear the house to pieces in a matter of seconds. No sooner have I cleaned a room than it looks like a cheerio and goldfish eating tornado has blown through.
5 AM Wake-up Calls. The beginning notes to Ozzy Osborne’s Crazy Train still cause my heart to triple in speed and for me to jump up and into action. 13 years ago, those first few blaring notes were our message to get the hell out of bed quicker than humanly possible, make the bed (perfectly with 45 degree hospital corners), brush our teeth and clean the sink, get into PT gear, and wait quietly at attention for the dawn’s sadistic exercise routine to begin. Ozzy might be a distant memory, but my ability to jump out of bed and bolt down the hallway to Max’s room to give him a sip of milk or stick his soother in his mouth has never been better. And come to think of it, his squealing does sound a little ozzy-esque.
Dust Bunnies The amount of dust that accumulates under the beds the first few weeks of military college is astounding. We were pretty sure that someone had a dust-bunny producing machine that magically placed tumble-weed dust bunnies under every bed of every first year. Of course, when a dust bunny is discovered, which it always is, you are ridiculed for being amongst the filthiest, unorganized human beings to ever walk the earth. That is exactly how I felt today. It isn’t that our house is that dusty, but Max likes to hide things. Especially where they can’t be found by anyone but him. Today I was brushing my teeth, and Max found a milk bottle, full of what was once milk in one of his secret hiding places. He came running to me, handed it over and said yuck while smacking his lips and squishing his nose. I hadn’t seen (or used) the bottle for weeks. My fears were confirmed when I opened the container to find a greenish congealed science experiment that had clearly gone wrong weeks earlier.
Roommates Roommates can make or break your first 6 weeks at Mil Col. I’m sure with my lack of neatness/shoe shining and bed making abilities, many are still scarred to this day for having been stuck with me. Nowadays, my roommate is my husband. For better or worse and like an inspection where your roommate forgets to get our of bed, Rob remembering and doing a little extra is the difference between chaos and calm. Luckily his shoes are shining these days.
Freshman 15 Despite the insane morning exercise routine, many of us ladies (and men) at RMC still managed to gain the Freshman 15. Three cafeteria meals a day, with an option of fries or potatoes with every meal, and a choice of 30 different desserts will do that to you. Now I have the Baby 15 that I am trying desperately (ok – not so desperately as I couldn’t live without chocolate these days) to lose. At RMC the extra pounds caused our pants to bunch around our waists raising the bottom hem to capri length. Now it will mean either squeezing into my suits or having to spend a fortune on a new wardrobe. Time to get running!
Supermom Speed Showering On that note, I proudly laced up my runners this morning for a wonderful, but short run. We were off for an appointment to have the kids jabbed with yet more needles (poor Freya has had four in two days) so we had a bit of extra time this morning (and
Ozzy Osbourne Max was up squealing at 5AM. I looked at the beautiful morning, realized the kids were almost ready to go, and remembered that 13 years ago I was perfectly capable of doing morning exercise then showering and getting ready in record time. Why not now? I have to say I’m proud to admit I still got it when it comes to speed showering and even throwing on a dab of make-up (Max and Freya interruptions included) in a matter of minutes.
The best thing about recruit term is once it is done, it is done forever. Or at least that is what I thought. Until I decided that moving across the world with two-kids was a great idea. Now I know that other than a few dust bunnies, and wrinkled beds, we’ll get through it, and when it is all over, we’ll be that much stronger and better for it!