Ever since I married into the military I have wished that I would have attended spousal basic training. I’m talking What-To-Expect-When-You-Marry-Into-The-Military kind of basic training.
Top Five things that should be taught at spousal basic training:
- You will become Gumby– This applies to so many different things. You will have to learn to be flexible with schedules (see #3). A trip home to visit family and friends is more exhausting than your everyday life. During a duty period when your spouse is away for days at a time you have to simultaneously become mom, dad, cook, maid, accountant, auto mechanic, landscaper, landlord and the list goes on…
- Retirement after 30 years… maybe not- I know lots of people who retire from their job after having worked 30 years or more for the same company! Now, I’m not saying that it is impossible to have an accomplishment like that but it is far more difficult for a military spouse. For instance, I was able to stay working as a government contractor for the first year of our marriage because my company transferred me to Philadelphia from Detroit. However, when we got orders that we would be moving back to the Detroit area (8 months after I had transferred) I was unable to transfer back into my position because guess what… they had replaced me when I left!
- How scheduling appointments (or anything for that matter) is not like it used to be- I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that I’d have better luck scheduling an appointment for the Queen of England than I would scheduling something, anything- willy-nilly without first consulting my calendar to make sure that the Coastie is available. In fact, his schedule is exhausting; “Two days on, two days off and every other weekend,” translates to see you never! At first it doesn’t sound that bad but here is a breakdown…
- A duty period is 48-72 hours long.
- If the Coastie has duty on Mon. and Tues., he will leave Mon. morning and will come home around 1 PM on Wed. He will be home Wed. afternoon, all day Thurs. and go back to work on Fri. morning. He won’t return home until the following Mon. afternoon.
- In case you need further breakdown- that means in one week he will be home for 1.5 days!!
- Acronyms and Terms– Learning this language BEFORE I married someone who speaks it would have been helpful. For instance, the time the Coastie told me all proud like that he had “swabbed the galley floor and cleaned the head.” I just stood there, staring at him for a few seconds thinking, “Um, what?” I learned later that he had washed the kitchen floor and cleaned the bathroom.
- Military Time– This one gets me every single time! So what if the Coastie tells me that he will be home at 1700 and to figure out what time that is I sit there, starting at 12 and count on my fingers until I reach 17. I just wish I didn’t have to do that in front of people- I’m aware that I look like a moron!