Saturday, August 12, 2006

Reflections from a recruiter's wife

Sounds poetic, doesn't it? Ha! Reflections is just another word for bitching & moaning, but I'm not really doing that.

I never doubted the word of all the wives who "did their time" before me. I just had no clue what it would be like. It is kind of like a woman preparing for the birth of her firstborn-she kinda knows what's coming but on the whole, has no clue what's in store. Then after the fact, she thinks, "Oh, so this is what those other women meant."

I dunno. I am so used to the regular Navy, the "real" Navy. Not to say this is skate duty or anything. I am just used to a large command, and being in a military community and I think that has been a difficult adjustment. I am used to Steve having 36 hour duty every 8 days, and I am used to underways of all sorts of duration. I am used to being surrounded by other military wives. And kids.

So where do I find myself? Primarily, alone. Steve works six days out of seven, and long hours. That is not a complaint, it is just how it is. It has, however, taken three months to stop being a complaint. There was definitely a period of adjustment. At first I would stare at the few wives I have met (count 'em, two) who say that they are grateful to have them home each night, no matter how late.

Heh. I would prefer he had duty every 8 days. Even with the fact that he would be gone during those 36 hours, there was a predictablility to his work routine, and I knew he would be home by 6 each night.

But now, I usually see him by 9 PM. But some nights he gets home by 7 or soand scares me. Our door is really quiet and the other night I had fed the kids and was just pulling chocolate chip cookie bars out of the oven. And the kitchen door opens, but of course I don't hear it and I turn around and there he was just looking at us. Scared the crap out of me.

I have really learned over the past few months that the needs of the Navy do come first, now more than ever. There is a joke among Navy wives that if the Navy wanted your Sailor to have a family, they would have issued him one with his seabag. In other words, the Navy owns your Sailor and don't complain about anything because they supercede you.

I thought I had learned that lesson many time over in the past 8 years, like when my husband was still made to stand duty when I was losing our baby. I had to have one neighbor take care of my kids, and another drive me to the ER.

Then there was the time that I had weird symptoms all day and evening, but (gotta love Tricare) I could not get a same day appointment. So I called the nurse line that evening and told her my symptoms, and got a stern lecture for not being seen that day. Hello, no appointments available? I told her the same symptoms that I told three other Tricare people that day, and she was the only one alarmed by them. She told me to get to the ER. It seems she thought I was having a stroke.

So again, with the neighbors for childcare and transportation, because Steve was on duty. And I called the quarterdeck, which was a feat in itself. Steve told me never ever to call unless it was life & death. I figured that the Tricare lady thought I was going to die, well, he deserved to know about it.

After some runaround with the yahoo at the quarterdeck claiming she could not find my husband (he is on duty you idiot, look at the duty roster, he is the only one on the ship with our last name, etc) I ended up getting a message to him. And I made the yahoo cry. Hello Seaman Stumpf! I'm talking to you! Stupid cow.

Well Steve was frantic but still, no matter, he could not get relieved of duty. As it turns out, I did not have a stroke, but still the lesson was learned. No medical emergencies on duty days, because the Navy wants my husband planted firmly on the ship. OhhhhhhK.

Yeah. Back to recruiting. Life for a recruiter *is* the office. And nothing at home matters if they aren't making their quota. And bitching isn't going to bring home home any sooner the next night.

If you have had a day where the kids have been in your hair all day and your husband comes home, beat like a bad dog from a bad day & evening of work, you both need to blow off steam. Well his steam probably beats yours.

I mean, if the kids messed up 3 sets of clothes each and you have been doing wash all day and they spilled potting soil on the kitchen floor and before you could rejoice that it was only on the kitchen floor so you could easily sweep it up, the dog tracks it onto the carpet so now you have to vaccuum (again, since you already vaccuumed that day), and the kids are whiny because they, having spent 5 minutes using all 15 couch pillows to build a fort, are now bored, so you send them outside and they come in (hysterical) because they saw a snake ouside and are scared...well suck it up because you have a washer so it solves your laundry problem. And you havea broom and a vaccuum. And just pick up the couch pillows. Yeah it's more work but you know what? You don't have to worry about making goal, or potential recruits that lie about stupid stuff that disqualifies them from service and he has invested (and wasted) so much ime on them, and so on.

Like the needs of the Navy, the bitching of the Navy supercedes your bitching.

Two things to say: one, how sad is it that when my kids or my dog make a mess, I am happy if they do it on a surface that is easily cleanable? On the one hand I think it makes me look laid-back and willing to accept that kids make messes and not some uptight freak like Bree VandeKamp. On the other hand, Ithink it means I need a Mommy's day out of lunch & shopping or sightseeing. I need to get out of this house! (insert maniacal laughter at that prospect.)

And two, I don't want you all thinking that Steve tells me his venting outweighs mine, or that my days aren't hard. It is not a contest, to see who has had a lousier day. I don't get that vibe from him. These are just my observations as a Navy wife. I just can't wait til we are back in the regular Navy and then I can complain about silly 3-day underways.

What else? Anything new on our home front? Max is methodically chewing through the kids' toys. Heh. Less for me to pick up or trip over. I have also taught him how to "talk." I howl at him, he howls at me.

Jonathan and Katie start school in 3 weeks. Yay!!! Gee, I think I should call and enroll them...
I used to joke to Steve that he moved me to the Arctic tundra, because normally when we were living elsewhere we would go visit his parents and it would be freezing. So we move here and proceed to have the hottest summer I have ever endured in my 27 years. Yeah. Except now it is very chilly after sundown and in the morning. It is a nice relief but I told him this morning as I was seeing him off to work (love those working Saturdays) that he *had* moved me to the Arctic tundra. Cold in August? Sheesh!

I have gotten re-interested in scrapbooking, and that takes up some of my free time (and money). I am still cross stitching, crocheting and knitting. Yeah. I'm old. But when I am up to my knees in snow, I can stay inside and those activities will eat up the winter hours.

So that's about it for now.

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