Monthly Archives: January 2011

Committing myself to another man!

Photo credit to Finally, my recruiter went to grab an officer to swear me in.  DH had my camera and FIL had DH’s iPhone so he could shoot video [which didn’t turn out, since FIL covered the mic with his finger].  Heck, even the office aide had my BB so she could take an immediate photo for FB!  Colonel Burns was the officer who swore me in.  I remember focusing intently on the words that came out of his mouth, not wanting to mess up my oath.  After completion of my oath, we had a good handshake for the photo and it was official!

Amusingly enough, I left with an AF Reserve goodie bag!  There was a keychain, pen, thermos, coffee mug, t-shirt, beanie, mousepad, sticker for my car, etc.  It was too funny!  My recruiter also told me that I was getting paid for four hours worth of time today!  Woot!  Can you say “Chantecaille Turtles?!”  Hello enlistment gift!  I’m also really excited about the fact that I get my new ID card in as little as two weeks!  I’ll be glad to ditch the pink card in favor of a vertical one, let me tell you.  

  

I can’t wait!

I haven’t blogged all weekend, and while I considered waiting until Monday to do Miscellany Monday, I just can’t wait!  The weekend started off on a downer note, but ended strong!

Month of Memories
We’re in the month-long stretch of difficult memories for DH and I.  Just last Friday was the 7th anniversary of his son’s death.  DH had a little boy, his pride and joy, who died a month before the age of three of congenital heart defects.  He would’ve been 10 this year.  Coincidentally, he was born on the same day (not the same year) as Trinnie’s son.  We also found out on Friday that Trinnie is expecting baby #2, and we’re ecstatic for her and her husband.  DH’s son was also born (same year) a week after my mom died.  My mom died at the age of 51, of ovarian cancer, when I was 20 and in my second year of college.  It makes for a difficult month between the two of us, although we both handle our grief differently.

FAIL whale

Saturday started off as a FAIL whale kind of a morning for me, complete with tears.  Most of you know that I struggle with my own fertility challenges, and we all know that when it rains, it pours.  The neighbor is pregnant as well.  Trinnie’s an amazing best friend though, and she was really concerned about how I’d take it.  I know she’s always sensitive to my feelings.  Most of my energy is poured into the Air Force right now, as that was my “If I’m Not Pregnant By 30” goal, but having a family is still something I want for my future.  What makes me even more sad is that I’m going to miss everything – it’s my first taste of really being a service member – missing out on important life events and moments.  I know I would’ve been there in the hospital, by Trinnie’s side, but I’ll be at BMT instead.  I know she understands, and she of all people can recognize and respect the sacrifices I’m choosing to make by serving my country, but it still sucks.  I’m going to try to throw her an early baby shower, before I leave at the end of May.  I was also feeling unproductive Saturday morning and I was unhappy with how my date night turned out on Friday.  I had it built up in my head, probably to some unrealistic level, and DH was just exhausted from another week of training.  We took my overdressed self to Golden Corral, then back home to watch RED, which was a good movie.  I have to say, Bruce Willis looked pretty sexy in it, but you can tell by my husband that I have a thing for shaved heads.  🙂  It really helped to text back and forth with Noelle on Saturday, my little partner in crime, and I can’t wait for her visit in a few weeks.

Taxes
Oh yes, it’s tax time again!  Last year was the first year that I had them done by someone else, since a PCS, working in multiple states, etc, makes for a challenge.  This year isn’t much better, but I have a nasty feeling that I’m not going to be able to have them done for free on post, since we’re not active duty.  Joy!  On a related note, the girl at the commissary today hadn’t seen a pink ID card and she got excited and asked about it.  I told her not to get too worked up, it just means less privileges.  Give me tan any day!  I started doing my taxes through H&R Block (free if you link through Military One Source) and the projected amount (so far) for our federal return is enough to make me positively giddy!  I still have to receive/input my W-2 from North Carolina, and that worked to my advantage last year, so I’m hoping I’ll get lucky again.  For our first few years together, DH and I really got screwed at tax time, so it’s nice to see good things come our way.  This year is going to be no less of a challenge.  We’ve got combat pay, me working in NC, me working in CO, DH being a CA resident until mid-year, and both of us becoming Colorado residents.  Although I’m sure I’ll want to funnel most of it to bills, the thought of a Nashville getaway over spring break is really tempting.  I really want to do a getaway with him before I leave in May.  We deserve that time together.

It’s the little things
I got a lot of piddly little tasks done over the weekend.  The stuff that adds up, you know what I’m talking about.  I cleaned our bathroom.  I hand washed two sweaters.  I found (and picked up) a dresser for DH off Craigslist for $40.  His stuff has been piled up in our bedroom and it was driving me (and him) crazy.  I changed all of the Scentsy warmers in my house.  I need to keep at these little things, as I want the place to look well-organized for Noelle’s arrival.  It always takes a visit to get my ass in gear.

Personal Best Day!
This was totally personal best day!  I hit the pavement for a run this morning, with a new app on my iTouch – Run Keeper.  It’s designed to be used with the iPhone, as the GPS determines where you’re going, how far you’ve gone, etc.  With my iTouch, it mainly kept time for me, and I was happy with that.   You can set it to play a playlist on your iPod, which I did, and it interrupts the songs to tell you the time, how far you’ve gone, and your pace.  I had a personal best time today!  10 minutes and 50 seconds, with noticeably less walking.  I’m getting better and my shins are really feeling it.  I also had a personal best at the commissary today!  I saved 17% of my total bill, with $25.84 in coupon sales!  There was a really great Olay coupon in the paper today – buy one body wash, get a free face lotion.  The lotion is a staple of mine, so I went for it.  The coupon ended up ringing up as $9.44 off!!

The BIG day!
Tomorrow is the big day!  After school, I’m heading on base to swear in to the Air Force Reserve!  I know we’re going to do some paperwork as well, but I’m not sure if I’ll see my contract tomorrow.  DH, FIL, and Haley are coming to cheer me on and document the event.  Expect a complete report and pictures tomorrow evening!

Oh yeah, and one more thing…
I got an email from a professor at a local university.  The director of SpEd at my  district had recommended me to her.  She teaches a math practicum course and was looking for teachers to place her students with.  They will come in for 6 – 8 weeks and work with a small group of students, teaching 12 lessons total.  I jumped at the chance to have another adult in my room and to help work with my kids that need more one-on-one attention.  I’m really excited, as it’s a good sign that I’m moving up to the mentorship level, as student teachers aren’t far off.  I just hope I can model good teaching behaviors and best practices, so that I earn the respect of these university students.

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #28

Head over to Wifey’s to get in on the action!

1.  If you were a famous movie star, what types of movies would you star in?  Period flicks, for sure!  Put me in extravagant, crazy costumes!  I would be up for westerns, comedies, and romantic comedies as well.

2.  What is a vacation you would like to take if money were no object?  A world cruise on the Queen Mary 2!  DH is in the background saying, “No, you would be on your own!”  Let’s go ahead and spring for the small suite, at the cost of $55k per person.  DH says if he wanted to be on the sea for that long, he would’ve joined the Navy.  Personally, I’ve always envied my brother’s travels, so game on for me!

3.  Did you have pets growing up?  Let’s get the weird fact out of the way – I’ve never owned a dog in my life.  My dad was right, we were never home to attend to the needs of a dog.  I had a black long-haired cat named Licorice (“Licky” for short), my first pet, and then an orange tabby named Buddy Holly.  My mother had a friend with a cat named James Brown, and she loved the idea of naming your cat after a favorite singer.  Buddy Holly is still alive and kicking, despite some health issues, at my dad’s house.  We also had a series of hamsters and guinea pigs.  My mom was a science teacher, so the guinea pigs always had scientific names since they went with her to school.  There were Fahrenheit and Celsius (white with red eyes) and Copper and Lead (rust and brown colored).  The guinea pigs used to run around in our backyard and eat the grass.

4.  What do you do for exercise?  Not enough, let me tell you, which is an issue when you’re shipping out for BMT in a matter of months.  I’ve been running, walking, and doing some strength training at home.  I was doing Zumba for a little while, but my employer discontinued that wellness program.  I love dancing and try to do that whenever I can.

5.  What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a MilSpouse?  I don’t think this advice was given to me directly, but my favorite milspouse book is all about “blooming where you’re planted.”  We’re all going to whine and moan from time to time, but you need to cowgirl up and make the most out of whatever this life throws at you.  Choose to thrive, not merely survive.  Like I told Taryn (and I can’t take credit for the quote), either you own the military or the military owns you.

Thursday 5




Head over to Nicole’s at Flip Flops and Combat Boots to get in on this weekly meme!  This week’s words are:

Patient

Joyful

Marvelous

Grateful

Wonderful



1.  Being patient has paid off, as DH has finally been given the opportunity to do multiple schools on active duty status, which means active duty pay!  🙂  All of those times we scrimped and stayed at home to save money have paid off, because we’ll finally get to have date night tomorrow!  We haven’t had an outing as a couple since I’ve been here in late June.  We’re probably heading to the movies to True Grit, since DH loves westerns.



2.  I am joyful that tomorrow is Friday and I have nothing planned for the weekend!  I really need to get active again this weekend, since I’ve been slacking.  Now that I have an actual date for BMT, the heat is on to get in shape.



3.  There is nothing more marvelous than my new Guerlain Blush G Serie Noire that arrived today!  Stepping up to the next level of high end cosmetics is quite the experience.  Just swatching the product was gasp-inducing, as the powder is so finely milled.  I’m super pleased with this purchase, and it was worth the wait!



Quick swatch pic I took with my BlackBerry

4.  I am so grateful to be happy and healthy, to have passed through MEPS without any issues, and to have found a job within the Air Force Reserve this week.  I am eager to do my face-to-face interview with my receiving unit and dazzle them with my competence and sparkling personality.  🙂

5.  The taste of achieving a goal is downright wonderful.  I swear in on Monday, and I can’t tell you how proud I feel right now, let alone how I’ll feel while taking my enlistment oath.  The dream of serving my country is finally coming true and I will be proud to stand amongst those who have also made that commitment.

Household6Diva’s Blizzard Bloghop 2011 Intro

Blizzard Bloghop 2010 hosted by Household 6 Diva

If you’re a new visitor coming to me from Household6Diva’s Blizzard Bloghop, welcome!  My name is
I’m a 30-year-old special ed math teacher living in my dream state of Colorado, courtesy of the U.S. Army!  I’m in my 5th year of teaching and I’ve taught in California (where I was born and raised), North Carolina, and now Colorado.

My husband is a prior service Marine who re-enlisted in the Army, did his time, and recently got out to join the Reserves.  I started this milspouse blog to share the difficulties and challenges we have faced and are facing as a result of this transition.

I am currently in the process of enlisting in the Air Force Reserve as a 3S0X1 (Personnel), and I’ve been keeping my readers posted throughout this process.  My recruiter recently found this position for me, so everything is very fresh and I’m gearing up for BMT and tech school this summer.

Notice the variety of military service?  That’s why I call this Every Branch.  Between both of our families, we’ve got it all covered.

Teaching and the military aside, I ride a Harley, have an unhealthy obsession with makeup (check out my other blog, Made-Up In America), love to volunteer with military charities/organizations (the Patriot Guard especially), have a passion for mid-century vintage, and hope to have a family one day (currently struggling with conception).

Thank you for visiting!  I hope you’ll stick around and make yourself at home!

Two hours later, my fate is sealed!

It all went down today, in one whirlwind span of time.  There I was, sitting in an FFA meeting, and then next thing I know, I’m making plans to summer in San Antonio, TX and Biloxi, MS.  🙂 

My recruiter and I were texting back and forth during my meeting.  She had found a job for me in personnel, but we’re not able to do split training anymore.  If I took this position, it would require me to miss a month of school.  I would either be gone to BMT/tech school May 24th – Sept. 6th, or May 31st through Sept. 13th.  Option number one would require me to miss the last week of school and the first four weeks of school next year.  Option number two would allow me to finish out this year, but I’d miss five weeks of the start of the next school year.

I didn’t know what to do, and I know I needed to consult with my superiors at work.  The only break between those two schools would be the week I am traveling between San Antonio and Biloxi.  As a teacher, you never want to miss those first weeks of school, as that’s when you’re establishing routines, getting to know your kids, and setting expectations and standards.  To make this decision even more difficult, I had a day to decide.  My recruiter needed to lock in my position, as it is pretty competitive.  It’s an E-6 slot [3S071], so there’s room for me to grow [I’ll get out of school as an E-4].  I’ll be working personnel for a unit full of C-130 pilots, which is pretty awesome.  The C-130 is one of my favorite planes, and I love making DH sing “the song” for me.

After consulting with a recent/former supervisor, my principal, the HR guy for the district, and DH, made the phone call to lock in this opportunity.  It’s scary and exciting all at the same time, especially since it all happened so quickly.  I’m swearing in this coming Monday, after school.  You better believe DH and FIL will be there, and Haywee is going to try to come as well.  I’m planning/hoping to get pictures and video to share with everyone.

MEPS Debriefing

Whoo, what a day!  You ready for the super/monster debriefing of my experience?  I hope so!

I came home yesterday, packed my bag, verified the time I had to check into the hotel, and set off.  I stopped at Safeway to grab some cash [I thought I might go out that night – HA!], fill up the tank, and grabbed some Subway to eat on the go.  I hit traffic once I hit the outskirts of Denver, naturally, and I had to go to the bathroom.  Painful!  It makes me happy that I don’t live in a densely populated area anymore.

I finally pulled up to our hotel, a swanky
The unsolicited advice has already begun, let me tell you.  We were approached at dinner by an employee who begun to tell us about his military service, ask us what we were going into, etc.  At one point he told us that he never wanted to come home if he was “badly maimed,” that he wished to be left to die.  He mentioned all of those who come home with traumatic brain injuries and then proceeded to mimic someone with a disability.  It was bad, let me tell you.  Talk about not knowing your audience – who’s to say that one of the guys with me didn’t have a sibling or a relative with a disability.  Luckily, he finally went away.

I went to bed shortly after dinner at 2130, since free wifi wasn’t available.  I woke up a few times during the night, most memorably at 0142 when my stomach was hurting.  I knew I couldn’t take anything, because I didn’t want anything to be in my system.  With my alarm set for 0315, I got out of bed at 0312 when I stirred.  The hotel sure didn’t want you to miss anything – I had two wake-up calls and the alarm in the room went off.  I got dressed in denim trousers, polo shirt, and my P.F. Flyers.  Trinnie would’ve been proud of me, as I put on a full face of makeup that early in the morning.  🙂

I went down to breakfast and finally saw the rest of the applicants.  We were able to order off the regular breakfast menu, since there were so few of us.  I was already getting anxious and my stomach wasn’t totally settled, so I went for something “safe” that wouldn’t upset me.

We boarded the van to head over to MEPS and I was still unsettled.  Finally, when we got off the van into the cold morning air, I felt better.  We walked in the back of the building, through a loading dock area, lead by a soldier.  It was nice to encounter a friendly face in foliage green.  We took the elevator up to our floor, where we dropped off our belongings.  There wasn’t going to be any Air Force liaison present, so my name tag was waiting for me behind the control desk.  While the rest of the applicants waited, I was sent down the hall.

It seemed endless, every room marked out front with a hanging sign.  Go down the hall to the left, where someone will stop you.  My hearing test was first, and I was put into a metal box [for lack of better words] and I sat.  And sat.  Until the technician finally said we’d proceed without waiting for the rest of them.  I was thankful, as I was nervous enough, and it was only made worse by the fact that I felt like I was sitting in a paddy wagon, with chairs up against the walls.  I felt a little trigger happy during the test – better to hit the button when I thought I heard a sound, than to hesitate.

Afterwards my blood pressure was taken, and then I did a vision test.  That was an experience, let me tell you.  I did a red/green colorblind test, and then did a depth perception test.  The depth perception was odd.  I really felt unsure of myself during that one, since I had to tell the technician which circle was most pronounced out of five.  Luckily, she let me stop before I was all the way done and told me that I had passed.

We went to a medical briefing next, where we all gathered in a room for the first of many PowerPoints in our military careers.  While we were sitting and waiting, an employee (in civilian clothes) wandered in.  He addressed the other five applicants [yes, everyone but me], since they were all trying to become officers in the Marine Corps.  He was an NCO in the Army, and proceeded to offer all sorts of unsolicited advice and knowledge.  The kicker?  He went as far as to make the claim that the issue/challenge they’ll find is that because the military doesn’t require college education from its enlisted members, they subsequently don’t know how to write, which is necessary for briefs and counseling statements.  Nothing like a sweeping generalization to welcome us into the military!  Thanks for perpetuating stereotypes, chubby soldier!  Nevermind the fact that I, the person you’re ignoring over here in the corner, is the only one going enlisted and has the most education out of all of these folks – probably put together!  I was good though, I didn’t say anything, although I did comment to my fellow applicants later.  We were all joking that our luck was horrible, getting these folks that wanted to talk to us and who wouldn’t shut up.

The briefing was your typical scare-fest – don’t lie on your papers, we’ll let you know if you have HIV by phone, if you think you’re under the influence, say you’re sick and go home.  The others wrote scads of information on their files while I waited for us to proceed.  Uh oh – I was starting to worry that I’d be grilled because I didn’t write a novel.  

We finally got out of that brief and got to take our urinalysis test, thankfully!  I definitely had to go at this point.  The bathrooms sandwiched the lab, and there were windows (with blinds) into the lab.  We were instructed to pee in the stall, but leave the door open.  Not an issue for me at that point, but the girl next to me asked if there was a recommended “technique” for this portion.  I was glad to be on my way.  Quick blood draw to check all of my goodies, and we were shuttled out to a waiting room.

We sat forever in this waiting room, with no reading material other than a couple of technical journals for MEPSCOM.  I think we were all ready to fall asleep at this point.  The men in our group were lucky, as they were being seen first while we waited.  The doctor finally emerged and we were called in for our interviews.  It was a lot less intimidating and scary than my recruiter made it out to be.  He checked over my information, I told him about my glasses, and we chatted casually about the fact that I didn’t have any tattoos or piercings.  I was glad to get this part over with, after having it being so built up for me prior to going to MEPS.

All of the goodness came last – height/weight, what they call the “underwear olympics,” and a breast exam/partial pap [genitalia check].  I was astonished to find out that the other two female applicants had never had a real annual women’s exam.  They were both 21 in age, which seemed really old to me, especially since I know how important prevention and early examination is.  Naturally, one of the girls was really worried about this portion.  I cut my teeth early, with my first pap at age 17 at a Planned Parenthood so I could get BCP.  After that experience, it’s really no big deal and I don’t ever remember be afraid or dreading these visits.  I was bullshitting with the doctor during the exam and I had he and the technician in stitches discussing some of my teaching stories.  Gotta love being older for the fact that I’m still 20 pounds under my weight limit for the Air Force since the standards are more relaxed for me!  I’m hoping to lose more weight, as I’m heavier than I’ve ever been. 

The most awkward part for me was the underwear olympics.  While being watched by the doctor and a technician, we performed a series of exercises in our bras and panties.  We walked on our tippy-toes, on our heels, did squats, showed the range of motion in our hands, fingers, and feet, balanced on one leg, demonstrated our reflexes, and did the infamous duck walk.  After doing squats and strength training a few days prior to MEPS, I definitely had to stand up during the squat portion to prepare and steady myself.

Lastly, we were called into the doctor’s office again for the final review and check-off of our paperwork. The doctor had great things to say about me and my health, and had even asked if I was a runner because my heart rate/rhythm was low and steady.  That’s not the first time I’ve heard it, and you all know how much I work out [ha ha ha!].  I like to think I have a good inner peace that keeps my heart rate low.  Stamp, stamp, sign, and it was official!  I was medically cleared for military service!  I received a copy of my forms on yellow paper [the document the recruiter is waiting on] and I was sent on my way!  Because there were only six of us, I was out of there by 1000.  Not bad at all!

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I’m ecstatic to have had such an easy experience up at MEPS and I’m excited to move to the next step in my recruitment, although we’ve had some setbacks.  It’s been difficult for my recruiter to find a position for me that will allow me to do split training.  Intelligence is out – they don’t want to do split training.  I’m ready to tell her to talk to everyone, regardless of the nature of the job, just so that I can evaluate my options thoroughly, rather than feel like I’m settling for the only department/position that will take me.  I know I’m a competent worker and a fast learner, and I hope that I have the opportunity to interview and prove myself.  Tomorrow I’m off to the recruiter so I can turn in my MS transcripts and my yellow forms.  I’m not sure where we go from here, although I’m assuming after we find a job for me, my enlistment oath isn’t far behind.