Sadly, since the Drag Queen Convention of 2006 the military has changed hotels for the banquet so GI Joe doesn't get to see his "friends". Who knows how they are getting their dresses zipped up without him? The new location isn't near as exciting without the queens there but we still had a good time. What's not to like about staying an entire weekend in a nice hotel, kid free, and dressing up in a pretty dress? Oh wait that's just me. I don't think GI Joe is really into dressing up in pretty ballgowns, or maybe the Drag Queen Convention of 2006 made him change his ways. Not a chance.
Here are a few highlights that I am able to disclose without jeopardizing our nation's security and/or my husband's military career (any more so than the drag queen escapade):
*I decided this weekend that I completely understand why military recruiters often get a bad rap. Let me be blunt about this BECAUSE THEY'VE EARNED IT. The majority of them are cocky, arrogant, loud, pushy, rambunctious, and obnoxious. I'm not kidding when I say that I don't know how there was room for the spouses and significant others in the ballroom with all 75+ of them AND their egos. Wow. GI Joe is really the exception to the rule on this one and I'm not just saying that because he's my husband, that's just not how he rolls. I turned to him at one point during the weekend and said, "I really don't like many of the people you work with" to which he responded "Neither do I babe, neither do I." So the moral of the story here is that if you or anyone you know is interested in joining the military call GI Joe, don't deal with anyone else because they will likely feed you a load of crap while beguiling you with stories of how fantastic and awesome they are. GI Joe keeps it real and while he may tell you a story or two it will likely be about how awesome and fantastic his wife is...or maybe not. :)
*I decided to go all out and go to the local Aveda Institute and get my hair did (snap z formation). Really, I was just being lazy and didn't want to have to curl it out by myself. So I booked the appointment and told the receptionist what I needed. When I arrived for the appointment they told me Tony would be right with me. RED FLAG. I hoped and prayed that Tony was a girl because I had no confidence in a boy with a curling iron. Unfortunately, Tony was a guy, a guy from india (Jerry, I know what you're thinking and no there were no monkeys in the tree) and we had some slight difficulties communicating, to say the least. I told him what I wanted, he didn't get it. I tried to draw him a picture, still the lightbulb didn't come on. Finally, I grabbed the Seventeen magazine from the girl in the chair next to me and found a picture similar to what I wanted. Tony nodded and acted like he knew exactly what he was doing. I had my doubts, with good reason. Tony worked for approximately 30 minutes until an instructor came over and showed him how he should be doing it and told him how to finish it. As soon as she left he went right back to doing what he was doing, not heeding her advice at all. She came over again and corrected him and then left for the day. By this time, I was fuming and wavering between bursting into tears or throwing the flat iron at him BECAUSE HE WAS MESSING UP MY HAIR AND I HAD A VERY PRETTY DRESS TO WEAR TO AN IMPORTANT EVENT IN LESS THAN 90 MINUTES. You would be proud though, I refrained from doing either and just kept singing "Jesus, Take the Wheel" in my head. That's my calm me down song. However, a new instructor happened to walk by and must've seen the look on my face, because he did a second walk by, and then a 3rd. Probably to confirm that no, I wasn't having a seizure, or that my face wasn't naturally set in the angry mode. Have I mentioned that I have a terrible poker face? I do. I cannot hide what I'm feeling it's written all over my face. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and even surprised myself with how ticked I look. The observant instructor came over immediately and told Tony what he should be doing and after watching Tony get the cord of the curling iron all tangled up in my mane, he called for reinforcement. He went and got a more experienced stylist, A GIRL (thank goodness) who came over and relieved Tony. Tony stood there and watched while the nice girl tried to rectify the hair situation. He walked away for a minute and the girl began apologizing profusely and promised to hurry. I explained that I had to be done by 5:30 as the ball started at exactly 6:20 and you cannot be late to such things. Finally, she finished and spun me around to look in the mirror. Not exactly what I'd envisioned but it would have to do and it was certainly better than the rat's nest that Tony was trying to create and by this time I was freaking out a tad because I was going to be rushed to get dressed and do my makeup. I left there at 5:45, got back to the hotel at 5:55, and was dressed and made up by 6:10. Impressive yes? To Tony-Maybe a barber shop is your best bet. Also, should I go to the Aveda Institute (which I probably won't) I will be specifying NO TONY. Nothing personal, you just stink at doing girls' hair.
*Typically, at these banquets the wives wear very boring, blah dark colored dresses. There's no written rule saying that's what we're supposed to wear, I just think most of them aren't risktakers. It probably goes without saying that I have NEVER worn a black dress there in the 7 years we've been attending. Let's review my dress colors for the past 6 years: sage green, red, hot pink (x2), lime green, and purple. Yes, I totally blend in every year. Each year I've noticed more and more wives kicking the black bucket and wearing a color, no hot pink or lime green but baby steps. I may or may not be a trendsetter, I'm just saying. This year I really outdid myself and found the perfect dress, it was black (kind of) but definitely not boring. See for yourself
Emphasis on the shoes...be still my heart. How I love these shoes.
Can you believe I was the only one wearing zebra print? Weird.
*As we walked into the crowded ballroom before the "Call to Mess", that's military speak for "Time to Eat", we discovered that GI Joe's boss had not reserved a table so we were left to our own devices to find a spot to sit. As luck would have it we wound up at a table of 3 Colonels (sounds like kernel even though there's no R in it), 2 Lt. Colonels, and a State Command Sgt. Major and his wife. If you're not familiar with military ranks, those are some very high ranking individuals. GI Joe was sweating bullets as we sat down. I think he was worried about me saying the wrong thing or telling them about our gay llamas or him and the drag queens. Every time he spoke to any of them he ended it with "sir". I sat next to one of the Colonels who happens to be the Inspector General of Iowa, kind of a big deal. He was very nice and introduced himself to me, but then added, "But you can call me Steve." And I said (because I'm me), "Ok good Steve because there was no way I was going to remember that Colonel stuff." Steve and I became good buddies by the end of the night and he's probably reading this right now..Hi Steve!! (OK, not really.) So we hobnobbed with the big wigs, juggling the 14 pieces of silverware that surrounded our plate, and GI Joe managed to survive it all without suffering a stroke and using the wrong silverware! Although a few times during the awards ceremony as I provided quiet commentary to him about so and so's wife's dress and other such pressing matters, it was shaky as evidenced by the looks he kept giving me. But really I would much rather have sat with the nice, friendly, distinguished guests than the majority of the recruiters, see above. The banquet itself was b-o-r-i-n-g with a capital B, I could teach them a few things about putting together an eye-catching presentation, but then the Adj. General for the state of Iowa spoke and he was surprisingly entertaining and interesting.
*After the banquet was over we headed back up to the room for our annual photo shoot and to change clothes before heading to a late movie. There were technical difficulties with the camera and we just couldn't get the setting right for the light we had to work with. By the time we figured it out we had to decide if we were going to have our photo shoot OR make it to the movie. We decided to hurry and change so we could catch the movie but only because he promised me that when we got back from the movie we could change back into our banquet duds and have our photo shoot. Should've stayed and had our photo shoot as the movie "All About Steve", not so good. So much potential yet just didn't deliver. Better luck next time Sandy.
The ones where we are just standing there side by side looking like we're at our high school prom look posed and stuffy so I like to shake things up a bit. Something about zebra print makes a girl go a little wild.