Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Looking for some advice

I've reached the point where I'm curled up in bed with a huge mug of tea, a pan of brownies, and a fork. Don't get me wrong, the tea has no cream or sugar, and the brownies are whole wheat and organic. But I've landed here because I've finally lost grip of my little world, and I desperately need to recover.

Let's rewind and take a peek at what got me here. What do you already know? You know Jere is going to be stationed in Tampa. You know I'm going with him. You might know that I was trying to get things squared away with applying to college, finding us a place to live, hunting down a new car, and pulling together the random things like a new vet for Ginger and a new piano instructor.

Everything hinged on the way our orders read, and it all changed with an email and a phone call. I am no longer authorized to live with my husband, but they'll be happy to pay for me to live in Virginia while he goes to Tampa. This is something that's hard to explain to those outside of the military, but they treat their Reservists as second class citizens (note: my husband did not voluntarily leave active duty, but was forced into the Reserve as part of the military cutbacks under the Clinton administration). For all the Army talk about fostering good marriages, they could care less. Instead of making Jere's tour in Tampa a 3 year accompanied tour, they changed it to a 1 year unaccompanied tour with two 1 year extensions. That's 3 years of living apart. Yeah. Let that sink in.

I've had quite enough of this. But my husband loves the Army, and I love my husband. So we ran over the different options, and of course, I would still be moving to Tampa. It would just be more complicated to arrange. On top of it all, since the orders no longer said I had to be in Florida, my move is now considered voluntary and I can't attend a Florida college as a resident. Thankfully, we've gotten some help and good answers from the MacDill housing office, and it shouldn't be a problem for us to go back to our original plans. It's taken care of, but it's just, UGH, complicated.

So we've got that sort of solved, as well as we can without having the final orders in hand. I've started looking at houses to rent, and Jere strongly objects to the beautiful pink house I picked out right next to the Tampa Bay inlet. I know he'll give in once he sees the kitchen. The car thing has, very thankfully, been put in incredibly capable hands. College is out of the question for at least the next year and a half.

I decided last night that I need to get away. I don't particularly care where I go. I want to get on a plane and get the hell out of here before the shit really hits the fan. Because once the orders are printed, I have to start getting ready to move. Packing. Touring rental houses. Nightmare.

So I figured I would go see some snow, maybe ski. And found a great ski package and airfare. I even got the go ahead from Jere. But I couldn't book it. I thought maybe I could go somewhere else and have more fun. And what if it was too cold and I sat in the lodge the whole time? What if I broke yet another bone? What if I got snowed in? And would I have fun there alone? My paranoia set in, and I started the frantic search for somewhere else to go.

I've looked at cruises (where I have to pay for two people even if it's just me), all inclusive resorts in the Bahamas and Curacao (where I have to pay for one and a half people), air and hotel packages to Seattle, Vegas, Niagara Falls, London, Arizona, Boston, and various other places. All are within my self-dictated price range. Now I have too many choices and too much to figure out.

Here's what I'm asking from all of you! What do you think? What places have you been that made you feel relaxed? Where should I go???? Skiing, beach, city? Acceptable answers do not include the phrase "to come see me!!!" I love you all, I miss you all, but I am NOT good company right now. Michigan friends, remember I will be there in June. And possibly before that.

Let me dispel the things I know will be said about me.
"Didn't you just get back from 22 days in Europe?"
-Yes. Yes I did. Then I had Christmas with Jere's family and my mom and sister (I seriously had a fantastic Christmas with everyone), and then had a miserable New Years Eve. And then all the rest of this happened. So the afterglow is WAY gone.
"Aren't you going to Paris in April?"
-Why yes. I am taking my grandma to Paris. I can't keep up with her even when I'm at a run, so I'm not going so far as to call that a relaxing trip, though I'm very much looking forward to taking her. And by the time that trip comes, I'll already be living in Tampa and I'll be prepping for Jere to come home. I'll need the distraction then.
"How can you say your life is stressful when you don't work or have kids?"
-This one bugs me. Let me explain. Do you remember summer break when you were a kid? You didn't really miss school, but it was sometimes very hard to get around the boredom. I spend nearly everyday at home, waiting for my husband to get online so I can feel connected to him from 6000 miles away. I don't get to work. We've moved four times in two years, I haven't been able to finish school or get a job. Not that I particularly want a job, but the only jobs available to me without even a two-year degree are pretty limited. Not to mention if I work, I push Jere into a higher tax bracket, and the income I would make would barely account for what we would lose. And I really do miss working sometimes. Rachel makes me miss it. *grin*

The other thing I have to say is this. Everyone has their thing. And most people get to go to work or school, come home tired and stressed at the end of the day, and find their spouse or their child there waiting for them. Everytime I leave, I come back to an empty apartment. The time I spend away from here gives me a chance to forget about that. I don't have my husband waiting for me when I come home, or children to kiss goodnight.

What I have is travel. It's my passion. It's what kills the loneliness. Everything from the plane ride to the crazy foreign food makes me appreciate not only the wonders of the world, but allows me to love what I come back to. Even if when I get home, all I have to kiss goodnight is the cat. But she's one of the things I miss the most when I'm gone!

Besides, if I don't travel now, when am I going to do it? After I have kids to pay for? When my husband and I are too old to appreciate it? I know I'm going to have to slow down after Jerry is home, and you have no idea how much I'm looking forward to resuming my normal life. Looking forward to reality. Because these deployments aren't reality, so I reserve the right to live in my own little world for the duration.

One last question I'm always asked:
"Don't you feel guilty spending all your husband's hard earned money while he's gone?"
-No. Not a bit. I generally don't dignify this question with an answer, so that's all I'm going to say. Except that I don't spend it all.

So back to my original point. What do you all think? Where should I go so that I don't stare at the wall and eat this whole pan of brownies? All happy, positive input is greatly appreciated!


Rachel said...

first of all, gee thanks for guilting me. but by time our date saturday i'll be unemployed. educated dumbbutt in the unemployment line. yay.

i say go skiing if you go in VA, or else go somewhere warm!

Feisty Irish Wench said...

So sorry things turned out screwy! And indeed travel while you can do so! I long to travel someplace other than my in-laws' couch.

My Sweet Side said...

Hey sweetness, First of all don't feel that you need to justify why you get to travel ! I am so jealous of all the great places you get to go too. I know you do it to escape and that's okay too. I would do it to, if I could. Living through deployment and all the screwiness of the army isn't easy and whatever gets you through...short of alchol & just what you need to do. California is always here ! Come see me ! If you don't think that's good, well I'd pack up and go relax on a beach somewhere. Hugs my dear friend. I wish I could give you a big squeeze