The Great Wait… For Orders

It’s that time. Time to start thinking about deployments and care packages and how I’m going to adjust to solo parenting without any communication with my husband for months at a time.

Yup… we are in the window for our orders (and yes, OUR orders because as a MilSpouse, I’m included on those orders). Huzzy will be detaching his current command in November and should have to report sometime in December.

Besides a three year tour recruiting in Michigan (which was kinda his choice), he has been stationed here in Washington state ever since he completed his training. That’s more than 10 years here, total. There are only two places he can be stationed (besides recruiting), and that’s here and Kings Bay, Georgia. KB is the armpit of Georgia… it’s 40 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida, so it’s definitely southern Georgia. It’s located on a built-up swamp and is a pretty isolated area.

It’s always been easy to stay in Washington because, for some reason, many people would prefer to go to Georgia (maybe because they like the heat or closer to family, etc), and 60% of the submarines are stationed in Washington. Never been an issue.

Until now.

Huzzy’s ability to look/shop for orders was supposed to open on the 1st, but now it’s been pushed back to the evening of the 13th. However, he talked to the detailer and was already asked if he’d go to KB… and to the least desirable boat type as well. He’d be miserable. Absolutely miserable.

We do not, under any circumstances, want to go to KB. Besides the fact that we love it here in Washington and absolutely hate weather in the south, we have a house here, my mom is considering moving here to help me with Skipper once she’s born (and she will not move to Georgia as she hates the heat as much as I do), and it’ll be financially detrimental to us. I have been planning on starting my own communication consulting business after she’s born, which I wouldn’t be able to do if we moved until after we moved and got really settled and THEN had to start fresh with no contacts. We also have a house that, due to the current market, would cost us several hundred a month even if we were able to rent it out… on top of the rent in KB that we’d have to do. I’ve looked at rentals there and, like here, the BAH is several hundred dollars shy of what we’d need to rent a house. So we’d be out probably at least $500 a month between the two… and BAH is more than $200 lower there. So that’s approaching $1,000 less in the budget. Not do-able.

I could get an additional job, of course (on top of Jamberry and my Navy Reserve stuff)… but the closest city where that would be possible is 45 minutes away with no traffic. Commuter traffic would probably make it in the hour one-way commute. Plus, then there’d be daycare expenses as well that would eat into it.

And really, I realize that this is something all military spouses go through, but when you have been told (and have 10+ years of personal experience behind it) that you’d never have to leave… it’s a rough transition of thought. On top of that, I’m, of course, just about two weeks away from full term and five weeks from my due date. I have enough to worry about without this unexpected stress.

I just hope Huzzy can grab orders to something here. Even if it is the least desirable boat.

 

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Navy Increases Career Sea Pay

For the first time in 13 years, the Navy has decided to increase career sea pay. When Huzzy goes back to sea next year, his sea pay is going to jump from $465 a month to $656 a month. That’ll be a big help. Still not worth him being gone the majority of the four years he’ll be on  sea duty, but it’ll be nice.

You can see the whole article here on Navy.mil, which includes a link to the table.

 

The Navy Barges in

Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness. 
~Richard Carlson

It’s been a while since I wrote anything about MilSpouse life. There’s no doubt that Huzzy is still military as he still puts on a uniform to go to work each day, but the military doesn’t invade our personal spaces as much when he’s on shore duty.

Sure, we’ll have to change plans if his 3-4 times a month duty falls on a date that we have something planned, but it’s much easier to plan around one day of duty rather than months of sea where there’s little hope of communication as small as an email. He’s gone four evenings a week, but that’s because he’s taking two classes in order to get his degree.

But last week, the military barged into our life unannounced in the form of an offer: If Huzzy was willing to go back to sea rightthisveryminute, he’d get his choice of type of submarine and possibly his choice of specific boat. Getting the type of boat he wants is important to him because it’s the difference of circling in the ocean for months without seeing anything (one type of submarine) and possibly getting port calls (another type of submarine).

Cue panic mode.

Huzzy has been in the Navy for nearly 15 years (anniversary is in January). While he’s been on shore duty for 16 months now, he still has another 20 months before he’s supposed to go back to sea. Shore duty is meant as a time for them to recover from the arduous demands of sea duty… it’s basically a mental health break for them. Huzzy’s last shore duty was recruiting, which was a nightmare and he spent more than three months one time without a day off. He’d work 18-20 hours a day and it just wasn’t nice. So in 15 years, this is his first “down” time. And he needs it. We both do.

So when Huzzy brought this up to me the other night, I had to take a deep breath. Because while it involves me and our potential family, it’s really his career. Going back to sea early could help him promote… it also might not help. But what it WOULD do is guarantee him the type of boat he wants.

Unless the “needs of the Navy” prevailed and they sent him to the platform he doesn’t want. Because needs of the Navy always outweigh what the Sailor wants or is promised… no matter what. It’s happened before and it’ll happen again.

In the end, Huzzy (wisely) decided that now is not the time for him to go back to sea early. He has 20 months left and would like to at least spend the next summer home before deciding to go back to sea early (gaaah! If I had my druthers, I’d say don’t go back early unless it’s a month or two!). Hopefully, we have a little one by that time and he won’t want to be away from him/her and won’t go back to sea any earlier than he’s required to.

Thanks, Navy, for reminding me that you still rule our lives and can barge in any time.

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When the Navy Intrudes…

Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement – and we will make the goal. 
~Jerome Fleishman

Huzzy has been on shore duty for nine months now and because of this, I haven’t really had anything to say regarding the Navy. That’s why it’s mostly been about my infertility struggle. He’s been working and is usually home before I am and has only had to stay after five maybe three times in the entire time he’s been on shore duty. Sure, he has duty four times a month, but he only has to stay overnight two or three times a month.

Our fourth anniversary was this past Thursday (if you don’t know how we met, it’s hilarious–check it out here). Because it was on a Thursday, we decided three months ago to go out for our anniversary dinner on Friday.

You see, we normally go to the Sky City restaurant, which is the revolving restaurant at the top of the Seattle Space Needle. Well, actually we went there for our first anniversary and had reservations for our second, but Huzzy’s boat kept him at work too late for us to make it to the reservations. Last year, he was 20,000 leagues under the sea so we couldn’t go then.

Anyway, Huzzy came home Tuesday night and told me that he was warned Friday night would be a late night… as in, late enough that we wouldn’t make the 7 p.m. reservation that we had made three months ago.

This brought back all the memories of sea duty when we couldn’t plan anything even days in advance without assuming that it might not work out due to the boat schedule.  He ended up making it out on time due to something pushing work schedule back to next week.

Now, he might not be home until late Monday through Wednesday. I’m on CD12 today… I expect our IUI to be done sometime between CD15-CD18, with CD15 and CD16 being the most likely. That would be Tuesday or Wednesday. The same days he’s working late.

If it happens to fall on those days, there is only a small chance Huzzy can get out of work to go get the IUI done with me. Which means if we can’t have it done, taking the meds was pointless and we’ll have to wait until June to try again (due to my Navy Reserve physical readiness test that will make me have to stress my body and focus on getting ready for it, which isn’t good for TTC).

I am really hoping that the IUI falls on a day that is either one Huzzy doesn’t have to work late or one that he can get out of work for. I would be extremely upset if this happens. I mean, I know the Navy comes first, but it has come first for so many years that DARN IT, I just want our family to come first for once. He’s on shore duty, it’s supposed to give us a chance to have “us” time and for it the stresses of sea duty to be relieved.

Okay, enough complaining. It is what it is. The Navy is what it is. What will be will be. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting what I want and wishing for what I wish.

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The Biggest Honor

Just do good, don’t worry about the road ahead.
~Monk Wansong

I don’t talk a whole lot about my job as an officer in the Navy Reserves. Frankly, that’s usually just a small part of my life. Being the wife of an active duty Sailor is what shapes my life. Huzzy’s patrol (deployment) schedule and the fact that we are here and nearly everything in our lives is touched by his service in the Navy. And as such, that’s what I tend to write about. I usually need the camaraderie and support of being a MilSpouse more than I need it in regards to my own service.

But that’s probably going to change once Huzzy heads to shore duty since he’ll be home each night (unless he has duty) and it will be a more regular schedule. Hopefully. I’m really, really hoping the hours aren’t like his last shore duty… recruiting. So when that happens, I will probably blog more about my job/life in the Navy Reserves.

I am truly honored to be able to serve my country in a small way. However, besides that, I’ve recently had the chance to do something that is truly an honor: re-enlisting and enlisting someone.

This started a month ago when I re-enlisted Huzzy. After that, I’ve enlisted two people into the Navy Reserves because there is a recruiting office on the 2nd deck of the building where I’m doing my three months of temporary active duty.

Let me tell you… enlisting or re-enlisting someone is SUCH an honor. Other than Huzzy, I was not the person’s choice… I was the officer the recruiter saw when they came downstairs looking for an enlisting officer. But regardless… it’s an honor because enlisting/re-enlisting into the Navy is a big decision. It’s something that will define a person’s life for the rest of their life, whether they are career military or in for just a few years.

Out of everything I’ve done so far, this part of being an officer is super-cool (yes, I’m a child of the 80s) and is very humbling.

Side note: When Huzzy re-enlisted, I may or may not have emphasized the part in the oath that says, “and obey the orders of ALL officers appointed over me.”  He also may or may not have sworn the oath with his hand on my pink Bible. There may or may not be photographic evidence. (which, if said evidence was around, wouldn’t be released until Huzzy saw the photos first).

Standing Up For Yourself

The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t. 
~Henry Ward Beecher

I have a strong “will.” I am here two and a half weeks post-surgery typing with just one hand.

But you know what? I’m here because I stood up for myself and for what I knew I needed. Even when doctors didn’t believe me or thought they knew better.

Check out my latest SpouseBuzz post for details!

One-Armed Wonder and Other Musings

I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once. 
~Jennifer Yane

It’s finally happening! I’m going to have surgery in exactly four weeks. While I’m scared and nervous, I’m also so excited. I sure hope this will finally fix my shoulder.

Unfortunately, the doctor isn’t sure what is wrong. My MRI came back fine, but he wasn’t expecting to find anything on it. He said labrum tears (which is what he’s expecting to find) are hard to see on MRI and because it’s been 18 months months since the injury, he said it would have been even more unusual to actually find something. He also says there is a possibility of me having stretched ligaments (like a rubber band that’s been stretched and won’t go back in place). If it’s the labrum tear, he’ll fix that by shaving off the flyaway pieces and, depending on the severity and type of tear, re-attach it. If it’s a stretched ligament, he will have to tighten it back up.

The doc has said the goal of the surgery is pain relief and the prognosis is “good to excellent.”  That’s good news for the most part. If all I get from this surgery is pain relief, I’ll be happy. He says there’s a good chance that I will have pain the rest of my life. There’s also a moderate chance that if the ligaments are fixed, they could be fixed too tight or too loose… and then I’d have to have surgery again.  And while he expects me to be back in Navy-shape six to 12 months after the surgery… there’s a chance this won’t happen. Which means I’d be medically separated.

But I’m focusing on the positive… I have a GOOD chance of lessening the pain after this surgery. I’m so excited about that. I’d love to sleep more than 3 or so hours without waking up and having to re-adjust my sleeping position. I’d LOVE to sleep on my left side again. I miss it. And my right shoulder gets tired of being the only one slept on.

According to the doctor, I will need care 24/7 for the first 10 days. After that, I should be able to return to work since I do office work. I’m going to have to rent an “ice machine.” Apparently, it’s a gizmo that is wrapped around the shoulder and delivers a continuous flow of cold water to keep the area iced and the swelling down.

Huzzy has told his command about the surgery but they haven’t given him the okay that he can take care of me for either that day or for the entire 10 days. And while I know I have friends in the area who wouldn’t mind shuttling me to the hospital for the surgery (while it’s total anesthesia, it’s a same-day hospital stay/surgery), I loathe to ask people to help. I will if I have to, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t really want to.

I’ll be in a sling for quite a while and I’ll still be in it when Huzzy goes on his next patrol (deployment). This should be our second-to-last one before shore duty. Four in 2 1/2 years so far. Pretty normal for our community except deployments 2 & 3 happened back-to-back and that’s what’s going to happen to deployments 4 & 5. That’s not normal but we’ll have been with three different commands during these five patrols, so it happens. The final deployment looks like it’ll be a long one (so far). Oh well, I know it will (or should) be our last, so once we get through this one, we are one away from being home free! Well, at least for a little bit.

As I go through my daily routines, I’ve been thinking about how that will be with a sling. And not just a sling, but I won’t be allowed to move, turn or lift my shoulder for fear of un-doing whatever fixing/tightening the doctor will do in there. I’ve wondered things like….

How in the WORLD do I get a shirt on?

Not to mention my Navy uniforms… how am I supposed to wear those and still be in regulations?

I drive a stick shift… uh…..

How do I put muzzles on the dogs?

How do I open a jar?

The bathroom. ‘Nuff said.

I am going to have to become a one-handed pecker. (get your mind out of the gutter, I’m talking a hunt-and-peck typist)

How do you pull a chord for the push-mower while holding down the bar thing on the handle?

I’m glad I don’t have kids and have to deal with them one-handed. But dealing with the dogs should be interesting.

 

This should be quite the adventure… and one I will hopefully not have to repeat. The Navy hasn’t given me an LOD (Line of Duty) letter yet, so right now, I’ll have take those 10 days off unpaid and also not be able to do my second job and lose the pay from THAT. The letter was supposed to be here a month ago. My choice is to either do the surgery now and hope they will eventually back-pay me or put it off… and have the surgery while Huzzy’s deployed.

Have any of you had labrum surgery and/or tightening of the ligaments/tendons? How did it go? Am I worrying about not having help afterward for no reason?