Tag Archive for Moving

Interview with Casey from The Ever Changing Life of a Military Wife

Casey, who blogs at The Ever-Changing Life of a Military Wife, shares with us how she keeps balance when life is a moving target.

What topics do you write about on your blog?

I’m a mish mash of teaching, travel, politics, pouting, military life, and my never ending love for Texas. If it happens in my life, it goes on the blog! I try to keep it “real” rather than branded. While I have much respect for the niche blogs, I view my blog as a diary rather than a website. So, when you come, expect the unexpected!

Share a favorite post of yours:

I think this post, Life as a Military Wife, really speaks to how different our lives really are. Sometimes it’s hard for others to understand our feelings, our acronyms, and our general way of life, so this post gives a glimpse into just how different it is.

Tell us a little bit about your military spouse journey.

I am married to an Air Force officer, and have been for almost 4 years. He has been active duty for almost 3 years. We are currently stationed overseas and waiting for our next assignment, which will most likely be overseas as well. Luckily, we have only had long TDYs and no deployments. However, we are expecting a deployment in the near future, but hopefully we can get by with a 6 month!

What are the best parts of being a military spouse?

For me, the best part has been the opportunity to see the world. In the last 3 years we have been able to visit 20 countries, a feat I never thought would have been possible. The Air Force has opened up the world to us, and has given us so many opportunities to see new places. With these experiences, and the diverse nature of the military, I feel like I have been able to broaden my horizons significantly.

To what extent have blogging and social networking affected the military spouse experience?

The mil-spouse blog community has been a great support system throughout this journey. I have met new people and gained some real life friends along the way. It has been a blessing to have friends around the world that have been through it all already, and can offer great advice. Honestly, I feel like the mil-spouse blogging community has enabled me to feel prepared for a possible deployment. I have seen so many make it through the process, that I know I can do it as well. I know that no matter where I might be stationed, I am still connected to other people who understand!

If someone you care about was about to marry a military servicemember, what one piece of advice would you give?

Be flexible! We have no control over assignments, duty hours, deployments, or just about anything else! The title of “dependent” may not be politically correct, but it is certainly accurate. You have to be able to put yourself aside and learn to go with the flow of your husband’s career. Can you still have a career? Sure! Can you still have input? Sure! However, the life of a military spouse is anything but typical. The more flexible and patient you are, the more successful you will be!

I wrote a post of advice just for those moving overseas which can be very helpful.

Ask Molly: Should I Move with My Soldier?

Hi Molly,

My husband hasn’t signed any papers yet but will be enlisting in the Army very soon. I am trying to be the supportive wife because I know this is something he’s always wanted to do, but I am scared for him and myself. Here is the problem: I am not going to be following him to wherever he gets stationed. I would love to be able to lean on the sisterhood of army wives for support and follow him because that would make it soooo much easier, but my career is in a great place and I don’t want to leave my other family members. He is okay with this and says we can make it work. I know we can make it work but I am worried about being alone all the time, especially because we just moved to a new area 2 hours away from our hometowns where our families are and we don’t have too many friends in our new city. So when he goes away, my family will be a 2 hr drive away plus I don’t have many friends nearby to lean on either. Is it common for the wives not to follow their husbands? What advice do you have for us? Thanks so much!! I really need it because neither of us comes from anything close to military families so they don’t know what to tell us.

Thanks!

Dear Reader,

This is a very tough response to write, because I really want to tell you and your husband that you can have everything.

And maybe, possibly, you can and this could work.

You sound from your letter as if you are a very grounded and rational person and from what little I have heard from you, it seems as if you and your husband have very open and honest communication and a solid foundation in your marriage.

But I also have to be honest and tell you that you are in for an uphill battle if he plans a full military career and you plan to stay put at your address indefinitely.

Now, if he only wants to “do his duty” and serve for two years, then it may make sense for you to stay where you are if you are happy in your career.  He will be training for several months and then may be deployed for a year.  In which case, there is no sense in uprooting your household and disrupting your life for the sake of a little more than half a year of cohabitation.

However, if he plans to stay in the military, I urge you to move at some point to join him.

I know some married couples (outside of the military) who lived in separate cities for a year or two–but this was a temporary solution and both couples made well over six figures, giving them the ability to fly back and forth several times a month.  This sort of weekend commuting does not seem like a possibility for you and your husband.

In my personal, anecdotal experience, the vast majority of spouses move with the servicemember eventually.  They may temporarily stay where they are to finish up classes as a teacher or student but they have plans to move in the near future.

There are also dual military families that find themselves stationed apart or with deployments that do not overlap.  Maybe some of these families could chime in and let us know about how they make it work.

During World War II, servicemembers sometimes deployed for several years.  However, there was a larger base of patriotic community support for the spouses who kept those homefires burning and the partners persevered because there was no other choice but to stay the course during the deployment.

If he is garrisoned stateside and you are hundreds or thousands of miles away, that will have a very different feeling because you are separated by choice, rather than by deployment.

You also bring up the issue of the “sisterhood” of military spouses and your lack of a support system at your current location.

During the year my husband was training, I remained at my job as a classroom teacher.  I was living about a half an hour from my parents and about the same distance from New York City, where many of my friends lived.  For support from other military spouses, I turned to a military spouse discussion board.

There are definitely ways to find support, especially with today’s technology, away from post. You may want to check out this post (and the comments) about staying near post or moving back home during a deployment, which touches on some of these issues.

Sit down with your husband, draw up a list of pros and cons and consider your personal and career goals and ask him about his own. Consider your own personal relationship styles.  Do you need to be geographically and physically close to the person you love?  Or does conducting a relationship mostly via e-mail and telephone sound romantic to you?  Do the two of you do most things together or do you already keep your lives fairly separate?

If you do decide to stay where you live, the military spouse community will be able to provide lots of advice and support on keeping long distance relationships going.

Personally, it would be very hard for me to be voluntarily separated from my husband for any substantial length of time but perhaps you and your husband would be able to happily make this work.

And I may be totally off-base here.  If so, I’m sure my other readers will be the voice of reason in the comments section!

Please keep us updated on what you decide and best of luck to you both!

“Ask Molly” represents only my opinion and the comments of readers represent their opinions. I draw upon my training as a Family Readiness Group leader, my own experience and that of those I know, and any research I found on the Internet. I am not a trained counselor.

Photo Credit: Take Off by realSMILEY

Online Shopping Withdrawal

We think we found our house–more about this later.

So, now begins the fun process of a loan. Since Captain Dad is going to be an Assistant District Attorney and I’m a freelancer, we are pretty much priced out of the market, even once we get out of commuting distance from the city.

However, we anticipated this and did build up some savings while he was working for a firm and I was teaching, and then later when we were living in Texas.

However, we decided we wanted to go for a VA loan, anyway…so that we would not eat into our savings all at once.

Sellers around here are not used to VA loans, however, so they still want to see some “money on the table” and they also want a loan “commitment” from the bank, as opposed to just a pre-approval. Apparently the pre-approval and $2 will get you a ride on the NYC subway and that’s about it.

So, to obtain the loan commitment, they are looking at our assets, but especially our “income to debt ratio.” We still have our house in Texas and have yet to rent it out, so that’s a pain. The whole 15 month+ deployments and both major units having overlapping deployments kind of killed real estate in Killeen. However, we have no car loans, no student loans, and no credit card debt…so that is good.

Despite this, we still need to have zero balances on our credit cards to up the balance in our favor. So, every time they kick things back to us for more documentation, we have to pay up our credit cards and hope no automatic payments (like cell phone charges) get deducted in the meantime.

Which means I can’t use my credit card.

Which means cash or check only.

Which means no online shopping.

Luckily the outdoors is free and local!

Be vewwy, vewwy quiet…I’m hunting properties…

The first day of house hunting started out with a bang–or rather a blowout.

With her usual sense of timing, Baby Diva waited until I turned to Captain Dad and said, “Okay, we’re all set to go,” and then let loose…quite literally. I did not even realize it until I picked her up to put her in the car seat and felt she was a little damp. Probably she tipped her sippy cup over, I thought.

Then I saw the deceptively little yellow stain. Like an iceberg, you know what lies underneath is much worse. I cannot understand why what looks like a minor leak from the outside can turn into a full-on mudslide once you open up the diaper. It has been quite a while since we’ve had a diaper buster and this one was a doozy.

We wrestled her onto a changing mat and stripped her down. Captain Dad held a squalling Diva under her arms so she wouldn’t leave a trail, while I used wipe after wipe after wipe to clean her up.

Finally, we really were ready. I should count my luck stars, I suppose, that she didn’t wait until we were in the car and 20 miles from the house.

So, we spent that day and the next looking for a house–raising our price range and lowering our standards, which is to be expected I suppose. We saw too cramped, too much work, and too close to traffic. We also saw two really great properties but we aren’t sure the community is the one for us. If I can’t be in the city, I think I would rather be in a really scenic area.

Everywhere we go, though, we spread the gospel of Baby Diva, welcoming new converts at every stop. They love her pudge and enjoy watching her feed herself small bites of avocado, banana, zucchini, chicken, or tofu. Few people in this area seem to have heard of babywearing, but they love seeing how happy Baby Diva is in her sling. However, at one house, we even met another mother carrying her one year old in a NoJo sling. Yesterday, I got Thai food at a surprisingly delicious little restaurant. So, the journey is as worthwhile as the destination.

The search continues until we find our house, but when you are with the ones you love, you are always home.

Moving Day, Days, Weeks…

After a long exhausting move for me and Baby Diva, and an even longer drive for Captain Dad, we arrived in our temporary residence. Now we are searching for a house to call our own in New York, hopefully for many years to come.

I have been spread even thinner than usual because somewhere on our way to New York, Baby Diva decided that only I could hold her. She is back to allowing Captain Dad to hold her, too–but there were a few days there when I was on 24/7. Her schedule has also gone kaplooie, what with the relatives and th house hunting and whatnot.

Baby Diva is cruising around non-stop and we know she recognizes who “Daddy” is: I asked her to “Hand Daddy the card” on Father’s Day and she was able to do it three times. She also pointed to my furry gentle giant (who adores her) and said, “cat.” She also did this three times. This is the first time I am 100% sure she is connecting a word (besides Mama and Dada) with the concept.

She says “luv, luv, luv” and “I love you,” but I don’t think she knows that they have meaning, just that we react when she says it. So, I guess “cat” is the official first word! Call the grandparents, break out the baby book, alert the media!

Congratulations, Captain Dad!

Today DH, aka Super Dad, was promoted to Captain Dad! Then we had the Hail and Farewell and the Battalion commander made a nice speech about Captain Dad and then made a nice speech about me and gave me a coin–which is a huge honor. He is very restrained with the awards.

It was at a casual family place and Baby Diva had a lot of fun being passed around and eating guacamole.

I’ll try to post pics this weekend.

It is really hitting me today that we have very little time left here and soon I will be a National Guard spouse instead of an active duty Army wife! There is so much to do!!! So, blogging will no doubt be very light, but I am sure I will have an amusing story or two to relate once we move.

So Captain Dad just walked in from his going away/promotion party out with the men and his soldiers made him a huge framed penant with his platoon, his name, his unit, an Iraqi flag, OIF medal, rank during deployment, a plaque thanking him for leading them all home safely, and they all wrote notes and signed it. It is so incredibly touching. Here are these tough, macho soldiers and they really respect and care about my husband. Captain Dad doesn’t cry, but I just might!