Tuesday, April 12, 2011


We've been here for a couple of weeks now and we're still adjusting to this whole transition. Some days I feel like my husband is going from active duty status to ignoring the whole world and pretending like no one else around him exists. While not officially retired yet, he seems to be enjoying his new found freedom from the military. One afternoon he took off up into the mountains and then came back and said he wants to spend two weeks this summer hiking by himself. Most of his days are spent in the bonus room/guest room which he has set up as sort of a man cave. The first thing he did after getting it set up was to put a lock on the door. He said it was to keep our son from playing the PS3 or getting into the computer stuff but in reality it's primarily used to keep everyone out. While I understand the need for healing, it's starting to border into irritating. He's still leaving a lot on my shoulders and snaps at me when I even walk into the room to ask him something. I've told him a few times that while he may be retiring from the military, he's not retiring from being a parent. I know I certainly wouldn't mind a chance to have some time to myself or just be able to "escape" whenever I want to.

In my opinion, our kids are not adjusting to this move very well. I've seen regressive behaviors in both of them. K1 cries at school almost every day still and usually gets clingy before getting on the bus because she's terrified that I'm going to leave again. She misses her teacher and friends from Texas terribly and doesn't understand why she's never going to see them again. While all of her teachers have said she is highly intelligent, we are seeing more of her autistic side than we usually do.

K2 is still showing many signs of ADHD and I have trouble getting him to listen to me and behave. He is mimicking his dad's behavior and repeating much of what he says in the same tone of voice, etc. I don't think my husband realizes what affect his PTSD and injuries have had on both of these kids, but K2 especially. I've asked him if he realizes what kind of memories he's creating for them because they often tell me they think their dad is mean and loud. He gets defensive and pushes away the blame or tries to turn it around on me.

While I feel more independent here, I still struggle with worry and depression. I've been a SAHM for the better part of our marriage, and although I do have a couple of online businesses, I just feel ready to get out and go back to work full time. So far I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong but my attempts at getting a job have been unsuccessful. I've been rejected for jobs that I know I have years of experience for and I'm qualified for and it's hard not to take that personal. Then of course that just has me feeling more worried and stressed again because I wonder what I'm doing wrong or if I'm getting a bad reference or something. I tend to over analyze and second guess myself. At first I thought it was simply because I was applying for jobs from out of town, but now that I've been here and have an address and not having a lot of luck, it concerns me. I've been thinking about using part of my husband's GI bill and finishing school. With so much going on, I fell behind on the program that I got the scholarship for and now all of my books are outdated and it would cost an arm and a leg just to catch up and even then I don't know if I could do it.

Despite being injured, one difference between my husband and I is that he says at this point in his life he's accomplished pretty much all that he set out to do, whereas I definitely have not. I try not to have regrets because I feel that each path we take leads us to each event in our lives. Sometimes I just wish I had taken a few different paths or at least knew then what I know now.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Strength in Numbers

It’s been a long and stressful day and I’m glad they were able to avoid a shutdown at least for the time being. Maybe I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth, but I can’t help but feel jaded by everything. It was pretty clear to me that the government won’t hesitate to throw our military/veterans under the bus and when it’s time to make some cuts, they’re the first in line. That just bothers me and I'm having trouble getting past it. It just seems like it's always something that sends a message loud and clear to our troops that says "hey, we don't appreciate you or the sacrifices you make on behalf of our nation."

First it was considering making wounded veterans pay for healthcare. Then it was the lowest pay increase in almost 40 years followed by no increase in COLA and a drop in BAH unless you were already locked in. That wasn't enough so then it was necessary to force them to pay for Medicare so they wouldn't lose their Tricare coverage. Of course since Tricare is less expensive than civilian health insurance and people use it, let's go ahead and raise the premiums on that as well.

Now I agree the national debt and frivolous spending is way out of control. It's pretty much a train wreck and it saddens me the amount of debt that our country is passing along to future generations. Since two wars were draining the defense budget, it only made sense to add a third one to the mix, right? To make matters worse, our troops are already stretched thin and the VA is so backlogged that it's going to be a long time before things are taken care of the way they should be.

Yet when the ax comes down on the defense budget the troops and their families are the first ones to pay the price. It wasn't that long ago that Michelle Obama and Oprah were on TV going on about how many great things were in store for our military families and how they should never go without. Yet this week before a shutdown was even in place, the pay statements reflected half of the pay that was due or less even for some families. How that could even be an option is beyond me. How do you ask someone to go overseas and fight for our country and possibly give their lives for our country and then tell them you're not going to pay them? There's a price for freedom and when Congress and our government said they wouldn't pay our troops or pay the death benefit to the families of the fallen until an agreement was made, suddenly that price became too high. How do you justify sending our military service members repeatedly overseas as you see fit and expect them to be apart from their families for a year or more at a time and then let them sit in a war zone worrying if they are going to be able to feed their families or keep a roof over their heads?

Our government expects our military to have to miss out on babies being born and missing out on family events or watching their kids growing up on a webcam and they expect it because the sacrifice isn't personal to many of them. Our service members make these sacrifices because they feel it's their duty and honor for our country and yet our so called leaders turned them into pawns for their own political gains. This budget should've been passed in October, before the fall elections. Instead they dragged their feet and waited until the last minute, leaving military members and their families in fear of not seeing a paycheck and wondering how they would survive.

Military life is stressful enough without adding that into the mix and shame on Congress for distracting those serving overseas when they are simply trying to stay alive and make it back home to their families.

Despite the stress and fears that were brought upon our military today, it was nothing short of amazing to see our military families come together as a united front. We supported each other and opened our hearts and homes and did what we could to make it through as a family. There's a bond there that no one can break, a connection between neighbors and strangers all over the world, connected through this roller coaster lifestyle. No doubt there's strength in numbers and we weren't about to give up that pay without a fight and we fought back against the shutdown until our voices were heard.

As my husband finishes out his last few weeks before retirement, I'm proud to be a part of this military family, now and for life.


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