I'm not talking about exercise as in "Bodily or mental exertion, especially for the sake of training or improvement of health." I'm talking about exercises. As in "something done or performed as a means of practice or training."
This Base is in a critical part of the world. The Middle East is obviously one of the biggest areas of concern for our country as well as many other world powers. And we are right smack in the middle of that drama.
Therefore this Base is constantly doing exercises to prepare for emergencies that may occur. Whether it be on a local or natinoal level. Truthfully, I'm not in danger of saying more than I am supposed to here because I don't know more than that. I know that JB has many days that he is in exercises all day long and not seeing patients. I know that he is sometimes called in to work in the middle of the night. Sometimes he cannot leave work when he normally would because there is an exercise in play.
The only other thing I know is when an exercise effects me.
Last year it happened after my work-out at the gym. I was told that I was not allowed to leave the building to do an "exercise" emergency. I sat there for thirty minutes while I paid a babysitter to watch my kiddos. Another woman with a lot more guts than me actually asked if she was required to stay. Their response was, "We have no way to force your participation but would appreciate your cooperation." She said that was not going to play and left. But I am a people pleaser, and I was unable to leave until given permission.
Last week it happened to me while I was at the "jumpy castles" with all three kiddos. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the Community Center on Base opens up their ballroom and sets up about four different jumpy castles and lets the kids go crazy. It has gotten a little overrun with Turkish nannies and their charges (many families use nannies instead of daycare on Base due to the inexpensive nature of the service) so we don't go all the time as it can be a little crazy with two-year-olds everywhere, but every 3rd or 4th time it is open, I go. I decided to take all three kids so Veronica could have a bit of a break.
I don't venture out with all three kids by myself very often. I'm still not used to it, and it is difficult. I can't take two strollers which means I either have to have (a) Abigail in the Bjorn and the boys in their stroller (b) or the boys on their bikes and Abigail in a stroller (c) or take the van or something like that to have a way to "hold" all three kiddos.
So I have Abigail strapped to my chest in a Bjorn. I recruit Stebbs and Sarahbee to put my boys' shoes and jackets on since I can't really do that with Abigail strapped on. I get the boys ready to go. We head to the door.
And we are stopped.
"You cannot leave the building due to an exercise."
Now for those of you who don't know me personally, you may not know one of my weak spots as a human being. And that weak spot is something happening that is not in my plan. I stay calm most times. I go with the flow most times. But when a curve ball takes places, especially when I have two boys running around at my feet and a baby strapped to my chest, I don't know how to react.
Well I do know how to react. But I don't do that. Instead, I freak out.
I thought about asking the question that that other girl asked the day at the gym. If I had to participate. But I just didn't have the spine to do that. So I walked back into the ballroom and returned to Stebbs and Angelica and Sarahbee and proceeded to have a slight breakdown.
My great friends were ... great. They recognized that my breakdown was completely unneeded and told me that they would help get the boys un-shoed and un-jacketed and then re-shoed and re-jacketed when the exercise was over. They told me not to worry. That they would help me.
Not that I ended up needing it. They released us a few minutes later. (Although Stebbins was stuck in the Post Office for forty-five minutes after leaving the Community Center.)
The next day I had plans to go off-Base to the market. But the exercise was still going on. So I opted to not leave Base. I just didn't want to get stuck off-Base during an exercise with three little kids.
I know these things are important. But it really throws a kink in the mind of one planner on Base. And it is just one more way that I reminded that I am a really long way from home!