Sunday, June 27, 2010

Leaving friends

I lived in North Carolina for ten months. I was involved with the Marine Corps life in Virginia for seven months. Yet I was more upset about leaving Virginia friends than NC friends. I wonder why this is. I can't decide if it is because this time, when I move, husband is coming with me. But that doesn't really make sense, because when I moved to NC, I was moving towards him. I also keep thinking, well, maybe it's because I was leaving my home and family. But...nope, I was SO ready to get out of Virginia. And it's the friends I was leaving behind, really. But I knew the Quantico girls for even less time than I've known the Cherry Point girls. So, what gives?

*(This sounds silly but I'm not including college or other friends in this. They've been my friends for years, and I know where ever I go in this crazy world, they will still be my friends, if for no other reason than the vacation spot!)*

All the goodbyes in NC were pretty swift, even with girls I really thought I'd become good friends with. Last visit, hug, goodbye. That was it. There were BBQs and tears and speeches when I left Quantico. Sometimes, I really think that my Quantico friends have ruined my perceptions for my future Marine Corps friends. They did everything SO well, I'm just not sure anyone else will be as good.

This is going to be one thing that I'm not sure I will ever get used to--moving and leaving behind all my friends. I guess I have to.

I will say, I'm very excited to find that base friend that is just my favorite person down there. Obviously, she won't be as wonderful as the four girls I'm moving away from, but it's important to have good friends where ever you go. I didn't really have that girlfriend in NC, and it was hard. When I had free time, who could I call? I wasn't sure. That sucked. When I just wanted to talk to someone in person, who was there? The kid, who is wonderful and smart, but doesn't quite understand. So I'm quite excited to finally have that local girlfriend I call call whenever and we can run somewhere together.

Hopefully I find her. I know it's hard to make new friends. It was even hard in a place I lived for most of my life. It's like dating. I keep building myself up that I'm going to have to just suck it up and 'make the first move,' as they say. I remember telling one girl at Quantico that I liked her and wanted to be her friend. It worked out, so hopefully that trick works again. I can be pretty outgoing when I want to, and I hope that if I keep telling myself that I need to make friends, then I have to be outgoing, it will work. We'll see.

I'll keep you updated. :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Military Wife

Someone gave me this and I just loved it, so I'm sharing it.

A Military wife can be tough to describe.
She is a southern belle, a northeastern Mets fan, a California 3rd generation recycler, a Pacific Islander.
She is short or tall, a tomboy, a fashion diva.
A physician's assistant.
A Republican, a Democrat.
A Military Wife is a career gal, a home-schooler, a scrapbooker, an accomplished cellist, an auto mechanic.

What IS a Military Wife?
WHAT is a Military Wife?
What is a MILITARY Wife?

They may look different and each is wonderfully unique, but this they have in common.
They have THIS in common:
Lots of moving--
Moving, moving, moving, far from home, moving two cars, three kids, and one dog--all riding with her of course,
Moving sofas to basements because they won't go in THIS house,
Moving curtains that won't fit,
Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours,
Moving away from old friends, moving towards new ones,
Moving her most important luggage; her trunk full of memories.
Often waiting--
Waiting, waiting, waiting for housing,
Waiting for orders,
Waiting for deployment,
Waiting for reunions,
Waiting for phone calls,
Waiting for the new curtains to arrive,
Waiting for him to come home for dinner--AGAIN.

They call her a 'military dependent,' but she knows better.
She can balance a checkbook, handle the yard work, fix a noisy toilet.
She is intimately familiar with drywall, anchors, and toggle bolts.
She can file taxes, sell a house, buy a car, or set up a move--all with ONE Power of Attorney.

She welcomes neighbors that don't welcome her,
Reinvents her career with each PCS.
Locates a house in the desert, the arctic, or the deep south, and learns to call them all home.
She MAKES them all home.

She is fiercely IN-dependent.

Military Wives are somewhat hasty.
They leap into decorating, leadership, volunteering, career alternatives, churches, and friendships.
They don't have 15 years to get to know people.
Their roots are short but flexible.
They plant annuals for themselves, and perennials for those who come after them.

Military Wives quickly learn to value each other.
They connect over coffee, rely on the spouse-network, and accept offers of friendship and favors and record addresses in pencil.
Military Wives have a common bond.

The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands.
His commitment is unique.
He doesn't have a job, he has a 'mission' he can't just decide to quit.
He's on-call for his country 24/7, but for you, he's the most unreliable guy in town!
His language is foreign: TDY, PCS, OPR, ACC, BDU.
And so, a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.
She is the long distance link to keep them informed, the glue that holds them together.

A Military Wife has her moments--
She wants to wring his neck, dye his uniform pink, and refuse to move to Siberia.

But she pulls herself together.

Give her a few days, a travel brochure, a long hot bath, a pledge to the flag, and a wedding picture.

And she goes.

She packs.
She moves.
She follows.

What for?
How come?

You may think it is because she has lost her mind.
But actually, it is because she has lost her heart.

It was stolen from her by a man
Who puts duty first,
Who longs to deploy,
Who salutes the flag,
Whose boots in the doorway remind her that
As long as he is her Military Husband,
She will remain his Military Wife.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Money Can't Buy You Love

I am unemployed.

I hate it. But I have accepted *(kind of)* that there is nothing I can do about it now. I looked for months when I got to NC, and just...nothing. I mean, I have a degree in English, and Books A Million wouldn't freaking hire me. *(Maybe they knew I'd just spend all my paycheck there?)* So, with everything we knew was coming, hubs and I discussed it and decided it would be a smarter choice if I just stopped looking and Bug stayed home with me.

Most days, I am fine with this. My husband is insanely smart financially, and we are definitely not hurting at all, like so many military families I know, so for that, I am thankful. We are pretty much debt free--all we pay each month are our bills. My credit card is zero, his never had a balance, and 'we' have paid off our two cars. I say 'we' because I had nothing to do with it. My husband is much better at the we part of finances. So you know, we pay rent, water, cable, etc. I'm getting pretty good at keeping that power bill tiny. We don't overspend, I'm getting better at being frugal *(though I won't deny the urge to buy *another* purse hits me every so often.)*, etc., etc.

However, every once in a while, something will happen that makes me get really upset about the fact that I am in no way contributing financially to this house. I KNOW about the whole stay at home mom argument, and believe me, some of my favorite people are SAHMs. They are better, stronger, braver women than I. It's odd, because I am not even one of those crazy career minded women--heck, I still am not sure what I want to be when I grow up. *(No age jokes.)* But...I like having a job. My wonderful parents, who provided amazingly for my sister and I, did a pretty good job teaching me to work for what I want. Granted, they covered a lot of what I needed, but that message about wants got there--if I want to go on that trip to Paris, I better save. If I want that new shirt, don't come to them. So, after 27 years of that, it's been insanely difficult for me to be the opposite.

It's not even that my husband won't buy me such things--he will, and he has. But he knows it frustrates me. He's very kind about my feelings, and I am eternally grateful. I don't want to ask if I can have something, like a new book. I just want to buy myself the new gd book. My friends say I will get over this, that eventually I will get used to saying our money, but I wonder when. Granted, we haven't been married very long, but I'm still looking forward to the day I don't feel guilty enough to cry over needing new t-shirts because mine all have holes--which happened. It was like something was eating them.

And then, every once in a while, the reason for this guilt is something more serious than shoes or a purse. *(I know. Who knew that was even possible?)* I took one of our cars to the shop today to get it checked out for the long journey it's about to make. After I paid the $230 fee for a basic check up/oil change/tire rotation, the guy told me that our car--which is a 2008, by the way--needs roughly $600 more in work. Uh...what? Oh, and I'm going back tomorrow to spend about $350 on the other car. And then, in two weeks, we will be shipping the first car to Hawaii to the tune of roughly $2,200. And let's not forget bills, getting uniforms ready for the new batallion, and the looming prospect of being in a hotel room with no kitchen-only a microwave and mini-fridge-for up to 4 months, if we get lucky.

Basically, I'm terrified. And you know, I'm technically only Catholic by birth, but good Lord, I still get their guilt. Again, wonderful husband was only mad about it for a second *(who wouldn't be after a text saying, well, I just dropped $230, but it needs $600 more?! I'd have been furious.)* and as soon as he remembered that this was basic maintenance, not 'Wifey ran the car into a tree,' he was fantastic about it. And again, thanks to the fact that he's financially brilliant, we are fine, and this will not hurt us.

But...dammit, I wish I could help. I'm the one who drives this car, I can't even help pay for anything. Last time it needed gas, he had to do it. I hate this feeling. Hate. I think part of it is that both the grown up jobs I have held were...boring. And tedious. And so I know how much it sucks to work, and I didn't have to share my money with anyone. I wouldn't have wanted to, not after what I had to put up with to earn it. So why should he?

I have heard from several of my military spouse friends just how hard it is to get a job--the locals know we will only be there for a short time, you will be overqualified/underqualified, there won't be any jobs in your field, so don't get picky, etc. At first, I felt fine with this. I have no real career field *(yes, I want to be a teacher, but I haven't done it yet, so it's not like I'm aching for it.)*, so hey--as long as I get a job. But at the same time, I busted my butt for a long time to get a degree. I don't want to work at the gas station. I know that sounds bad, but I did not waste my parent's hard earned money to make change.

I'm just hoping that even if I do have a job--since we know mine are always temporary--I will eventually be able to call it our money, or just buy myself a book, or heck, that new purse, without feeling guilty.

All I can say now is, I hope Hawaii has some jobs, and thank goodness for all the amazing volunteer opportunities there are on a base.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Whine, whine, whine.

I started this little blog to write about all the fun new things I am dealing with as a Marine Corps spouse. Now, most of you *(I say as though tons of people are reading this...)* know that while I'm a new spouse, I've been dealing with the Marine Corps somewhat seriously for more than a year now. Thank you deployment and me taking Bug *(because she is my Love Bug. Get it?)* while he was gone. After the fight I had with TriCare last year, I really thought I wouldn't have TOO many more issues, or that I'd be somewhat more prepared. That is false.

We are moving. And not just from one part of the state to another, as so often happens in this area. Not even from one side of the country to the other. No, we are moving halfway across the world. One would think that after YEARS of the Marine Corps doing this, the process would be smooth. Again, false. This has been so frustrating. I think the worst part is that there seems to be no consensus on whether or not this is an OCONUS or CONUS move. We are moving OUTSIDE the continental United States, but we are still in the United States. Believe me, I see the confusion. However, I am not in charge of this. We've been told that we need our passports, but then that we have to drive our cars. Really? I just need someone, somewhere, to figure this out and let me know.

Aside from all the drama involving that *(let's not talk about the fact that the moving company told me the date that they'd be arriving and packing all our worldly goods, or that we still don't know our flight date, or that no one has even offered *advice* on shipping our cars...we'll skip all that)*, I am starting to realize how much it's really going to suck to be so far away from everyone. And don't start in on the whole, you'll be in Hawaii, so shut up thing. It doesn't matter.
You go to a tiny island thousands of miles away from everyone you know, knowing that plane tickets to see you cost literally thousands of dollars, and let's talk about how excited you are. I am excited, believe me. But I'm going to whine. It's my blog and you can't stop me. Here are just SOME of the reasons I'm anxious about this.

1. What if I don't get a job? There are schools there, clearly, but I've heard that they have crazy furloughs going on. Also, if they are hiring right now, why would they hire me, who has NEVER taught before, over someone who has been teaching for years? And yes, I can hear you now--if you don't get a job, just hang out on the beach! Hello, I have crazy guilt. I cannot do that while my dear husband works all day. I don't do it now because it would make me feel bad. How could I do it in PARADISE?

2. My parents don't know if they'll be able to make it out before 2012.
2012!! Just to clarify, that is almost two years away. I'm not a baby or anything, but holy crap that's a long time.

3. I would write about my sister not being able to come, but thanks to the circumstances *(one of which is quite a bummer)*, she'll actually be there in October. Hurrah!

4. My best friends literally live across the street from the each other. I mean, you can stand on one front porch and yell to the other. I don't even know if you need to yell. Just speak loudly. And, as immature as this sounds, I have this fear that I am going to be left out. How could I not? I feel that way already *(though they are not doing anything to make me feel as such)* and I live three hours away. Soon, I won't even be a three hour PLANE RIDE away. Ugh.

So there you go. Four pretty good reasons to be a bit nervous. There are a lot more, but after this, even I can tell myself it's Hawaii, so shut up.

Ok, time for bed. In the morning, I have to start getting the cars ready for the long drive ahead of them. ...yeah. Or I have to get them inspected and updated for their trip on a boat. Hopefully they don't throw any crazy questions at me like I might know something about the cars...