Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Army Wives' Planners

I don’t watch a lot of television, but one of my guilty pleasures is Lifetime’s (yes, Lifetime—normally, I’m not an advocate of this station) “Army Wives.” It’s your typical drama series with more going on in a week than most people see in their entire lives. The main difference is that these women (and one man) are wives (and husband) of military personnel. This is what grabbed me about the show—I am a big supporter of the military, so I started watching the show since its inception. I don’t know if what they portray as military life is 100% accurate, but it’s interesting to me nonetheless. Since season 5 just ended, I thought it fitting to discuss the planners I have seen on the show throughout its entire run thus far.

The All-Inclusive – Being the general’s wife, Claudia Joy Holden, has a lot of responsibilities on post. She is the head of the FRG (Family Readiness Group) and as such, is often in charge of various functions. In one of the early seasons’ episodes, she pulls out a thick planner for all of her engagements and to-do lists. Of course, we don’t get to see the planner in detail, but it is ring-bound and quite hefty. In the show it was black, a no-name planner as far as I could tell. But if I were to pick out a Filofax planner for her, it would have to be the A5 Classic (in black). This planner is “sophisticated” and serious, yet offers style. It is also “strong and smart,” just as Claudia Joy’s description states. One might think that a personal size would suit her better, since it’s easily portable. But Claudia Joy isn’t the type to lug her planner around everywhere, but only when she needs it. Plus, it needs to be big in order to keep track of all her information and contacts she’s sure to have in there.

The Manly Life-tracker – Being the General at Fort Marshall, Michael Holden also has quite a bit of information to keep track of. Some branches of the military give out personal organizers (or they did when my cousin joined the Army). I can only presume that this is what General Holden was using when it showed up in one of the earlier episodes. It was a personal size—again, non-descript but black as far as I could tell. If I were to choose a Filofax planner for him, I would have to go with the personal Kendal in black. It’s sturdy and manly, and it’s portable enough to take to various meetings and even on deployment. In one scene, he is trying to make a date with his daughter. He pulled out his day planner and she pulled out her smartphone. Together—using different forms of organization—they came up with a date and scheduled it.

The Family CalendarLieutenant Colonel Joan Burton and her husband Roland lead a busy life. They both work and have a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, to care for. Between Joan’s military obligations and Roland’s job as a psychiatrist, there’s a lot to keep track of. In one scene, they are looking at a family calendar in order to plan an event. Again, I couldn’t tell exactly what brand of planner it might have been, but it was a spiral-bound monthly calendar, similar to At-a-Glance’s Fashion Monthly Academic Planner—functional, yet family-friendly. If I were to choose a Filofax planner for this family, it would have to be the Flex A5 in Slate, complete with a week on two pages diary (I would have chosen a basic monthly layout, as seen with the At-a-Glance, but that option is not available in the Flex) and a jot pad for shopping lists and notes. They might even have the contacts insert for doctors’ phone numbers and a list of babysitters. The Flex is perfect for this family—it keeps everything they need in one fashionable and portable place. Plus, the cover is easy to clean up from those accidental juice or milk spills.

I don’t know how many more seasons of “Army Wives” will air, but I can only hope I might catch a few more glimpses of the planners of this fictional military lifestyle.

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