Monthly Archives: March 2011

Forgot to tell you!

DH is the bald headed one.  <3

Exciting news!  I’ve been crossing my fingers on this one for a while, and I’m excited to see it happening!  

Fort Carson is getting a CAB unit!

Ok, let me translate for all of you who missed that.  Carson is getting a Combat Aviation Brigade!  Helicopters!  Woot!  This is exciting because DH just left a CAB unit out at Bragg and he loved what he was doing out there.  The CAB family is fairly small too, so the likelihood of us seeing some of our beloved friends is high!  I would be over the moon if Noelle’s hubby got orders out here (after his next assignment that they already know about).

Speaking of which, 82nd CAB is heading out here soon, and hopefully some of DH’s friends will be in town.

The flag in the picture was coordinated by me, prior to leaving California.  It was signed by PGR members, HOG friends, Run For The Wall participants, and in three of those center stars are the signatures of three Medal of Honor winners, including COL Lewis Millet, whom I had the pleasure of meeting on several occasions before he passed.

Things Students Say Thursday #6

This week has been absolutely nutty for me.  I had two IEPs today, we have standardized testing all week long (and in SpEd, it’s nothing short of a logistical nightmare), etc.  I’ve been lagging on my blogging, and even more so on my blog reading!  At least the week is going by quickly and CSAP testing means I don’t have to plan for some of my days.

If you’re a teacher, or if you know a teacher, you know we have some downright crazy stories about what comes out of the mouths of babes!  Therefore, I bring you:

Things Students Say Thursday

This meme is not only for teachers – if you’re an educator (teacher, aide, paraeducator, volunteer) in a Pre-K through 12 setting, feel free to jump in.  A wee bit of fun for all of us, and to get us ready for that feel-good Friday!

No rules about this one, just post a funny/interesting/shocking story about something a student has said this week.  I don’t need to remind you all about the ethics of teaching – please don’t use real names or pictures with faces, and please use people-first language.

Michelle Loves Me!

Thanks go out to Michelle @
As a recipient, I need to saddle you up with seven random facts about me, which sounds a lot more doable than the 100 that’s going around right now, and a lot more interesting for you.  It’s still difficult to find stuff that I haven’t already told you at this point.

1.  The Annoyed Army Wife did a “homesick” post the other day that really resonated with me.  Like her, I don’t have a “home” that a I feel homesick for.  After I moved out of the house I grew up in, my dad moved away to be closer to his work.  If I were to go back to California to visit, I wouldn’t be returning to the town where I grew up, or even the same county.  I didn’t go to school in the city and county where I lived, since we attended school in my mom’s school district, so I don’t have that connection.  As sad as this may seem to some, I think it helps as a military spouse, since I’m never really longing to go back to “where I came from.”  Sure, I wouldn’t mind visiting (and shopping and eating), but it isn’t home anymore.  I think that makes my transitions a bit easier, as I jaunt about the country.

2.  My quest for personal coupon best comes from my mom.  She used to take the Sunday coupon flyers, put stars on the ones she wanted with a red pen, and have her teacher’s aides cut them out at school.  My mom used to get away with all kinds of stuff!  Ingenious, really!  As long as I have access to a Sunday paper, I’m cutting out coupons.  It does slow me down a bit at the store, but I save a boatload of coin.  Today I saved 17% of my total bill and my biggest success today was getting a bottle of Gain fabric softener for 20 cents!  If you’re hitting the commi, you need to be clipping coupons for those sorts of steals!  Heck, if you’re at any store, save yourself some cash!

3.  I think we’re slowly settling in, at least, I’m getting that impression from DH lately.  He’s been pushing me to hang out with friends, and he went to visit a friend from WLC today.  Either we’re settling down, or he’s getting tired of having me around all week and therefore nagging him to do something productive.  🙂

4.  We’re going on our 4th anniversary this summer, our 6th year as a couple, and we’ve yet to take a honeymoon.  I can’t tell you how envious I am of people who can manage to squeeze a honeymoon into their military lifestyles (and paychecks).  All of our efforts to have a proper vacation have been thwarted, either by finances or circumstances.  Even if I look to December, when we may be able to scrounge enough money to go to Mexico for my family’s annual trip, he’s probably going to be at AIT again for his re-class.  *sigh*  I’m destined to vacation sans-husband forever.  At least I’m fine doing things on my own!

5.  I love being involved with the Patriot Guard, yet I feel like the worst PGR member ever lately.  Life has gotten in the way of my involvement, and my poor bike sits in the garage.  I haven’t ridden it in a while, and I need to prioritize that again.  Part of me misses North Carolina for this reason.  I had such a great HOG group out there, and a very close circle of PGR members.  I haven’t even been able to renew our HOG memberships this year, because of finances.  I think things were different when DH was gone – I had to get out there and make friends and get involved.  Now that he’s here, I haven’t been pushing myself to do that as much (not to mention finances hold us back).

6.  Speaking of re-classing, if DH ends up doing Civil Affairs like he’s hoping, I’m totally flying out there for a visit!  [Noelle, are you game?!?]  The south really seeps into your bones!  I could stand to hit up Cook Out, hit the Cadillac Ranch for some dancing, and see good friends!

7.  As much cooking as I do around here, I forget how much I love to bake.  I have a huge stash of cookbooks, specialty baking pans, and other gadgets from my days at Williams-Sonoma.  Of course, I really don’t need to be eating any yummies right now, but the thought of breaking out the double boiler and melting some rich, expensive chocolate sounds amazing.  Spring was always one of my favorite seasons at W-S because all of the colors that came out matched my kitchen (pink, buttercream yellow).  We always had samples of the Easter candy too, which didn’t hurt.  I miss those days.  If I lived closer to the W-S uptown, I’d apply for a part-time job.

I hope that wasn’t too boring for you all!  It seems like another “Miscellany” post for me!  🙂

Me: A to Z

Stolen from Megan Dub-Yuh, but it’s been goin’ around!

A.  Age: 30

B.  Bed size: Queen.  We started on a full size when we first got together.  Big beds are great, but we like being close to one another.

C.  Chore you dislike: Cleaning the bathrooms.

D.  Dogs: None at this time – no pets at all!  I’ve never owned a dog in my 30 years.

E.  Essential start to your day: Putting in my contacts.

F.  Favorite color: Chartreuse and Coral (tie!)

G.  Gold or silver: Gold looks better on my warm skin, although my rings are white gold/silver in color.

H.  Height: 5’11”

I.  Instruments you play(ed): Clarinet, Tuba, Trumpet

J.  Job title: SpEd Math Teacher

K.  Kids: None, and if we should get lucky, I’m hoping that it waits until after BMT and tech school!

L.  Live: Colorado

M.  Mom’s name: Gin

N.  Nick names: My name is short enough that I really don’t have any.  I do have a few at school that are related to my last name, so you’ll understand why I won’t share them.

O.  Overnight hospital stays: None

P.  Pet peeves: Crumbs on the counter top, bad tippers, bad manners, incorrect grammar and punctuation (especially coming from businesses), spelling the same word wrong all the time, blog formatting that isn’t conducive to reading, narrow mindedness, and to quote Megan, “using pen to do math, not showing your work.”

Q.  Quote from a movie: “The truth is I gave my heart away a long time ago, my whole heart, and I never really got it back.”

R.  Righty or lefty: Righty

S.  Siblings: One brother – he puts the “sis” in USNsis!

T.  Time you wake up: 0530 on the weekdays, whenever I want on the weekend.

U.  Underwear: Come 31 May, nothing but Under Armour briefs!

V.  Vegetables you don’t like: Cauliflower, broccoli, most squash varieties.

W.  What makes you run late: Primping, although I’m typically on time.

X.  X-rays you’ve had: Teeth, mainly.

Y.  Yummy food you make: DH would tell you that Mexican is my specialty.

Z.  Zoo animal favorites: Manatees!

28 states down, 22 to go!

Get yours!

This has been going around lately, and since it’s on my Life List, I was eager to dive in!  I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been to over half of our nation’s states!  This summer we’ll add on another one when I do tech school in Biloxi, MS, and hopefully pick up Louisiana as well if I can get away to New Orleans!

[BTW, layovers do not count in my book!  I have either vacationed or driven through all of these states!  If I counted layovers, Minnesota would be another one down for me, but I don’t think that’s fair.  An airport’s an airport, and tells you little to nothing about the surrounding culture and area.]

Sayonara, spring break!

I can’t say that this happens regularly, but this Saturday feels like a Sunday.  I’m already dreading the impending return to the grind.  Luckily, it has been a fairly productive day for me.  Sespi and I had a good talk about that earlier…

I’m one of those people who judges my days based on my productivity.  A good day for me balances down time (sleeping in, taking a nap, watching a favorite show, playing on my comp) and getting a lot done.  I was eager for spring break because it meant that I’d have time at home to get something done around the house.  After a full week at work, I don’t tend to make a lot of progress on the weekend, which has been been upsetting lately.  I had co-workers that were heading off to exotic vacations, and as much as I lust for one of those, I hate returning from a vacation and plunging headfirst into work.

So, let me do a feel-good list of all of the things that I’ve accomplished over the break!

  • Got my POAs (Power of Attorney for my non-mil folk out there) for DH and Trinnie (she’s my back-up).
  • Created a 46+ slide PowerPoint presentation for DH, with step-by-step instructions on how to pay all of our bills.  Yes, he really does need this.
  • Created a calendar for DH of all of the approximate bill due dates.
  • Revamped the blog.
  • Washed my car.
  • Vacuumed my car and threw out trash and needless items (like those electronic chargers for items I don’t own anymore).
  • Re-organized my dresser drawers and hanging clothes.  Put all folded clothes in there proper place, e.g., not on the bedroom floor around my vanity.
  • Eliminated clothing items that don’t fit, putting them in a box for my school’s clothing drive.  Took box of clothes to school for donation.
  • Cleaned the master bathroom.
  • Tidied up DH’s daughter’s future room.  I use it for the packaging of sold Etsy items.
  • Found a lesson planning calendar for next year.  Wrote down all of the calendar days, determining how many days I actually have to plan for.  Began writing down plans for first day of school.
  • Finalized packing for BMT, including my important documents folder.  Made photocopies of important documents to keep at home.
  • Picked up prescriptions for glasses and contacts, since this website told me to bring them to BMT with me.
  • Worked out consistently, alternating run days and pushup/sit-up days.  On Monday I start Week 3 of the hundred pushups and two hundred sit-ups programs.
  • Finally purchased Tricare Reserve Select insurance for DH’s daughter (actually, the family plan) and United Concordia dental plan for reservists.  [MUCH more on this later!]

Overall, it was a pretty good week for me.  I wish I had more time, as I didn’t get as much done for school as I would’ve liked.  Lesson planning for next year is a daunting task for me, since I don’t lesson plan to begin with, let alone for a long time period that’s so far out.  I also have two IEPs coming up on Wednesday, on top of CSAP testing (Colorado’s state testing) this week.  It should be hectic, to say the least.
I hope everyone’s been having a great week and an even better weekend!  Fortunately, we were blessed with great weather this week, aside from some gusty winds!

Count Your Blessings: Tricare

Tricare gets a bad rap in the military world.  Whenever you hear milspouses talking about Tricare, it’s typically bitching and moaning.  

Friends, let me tell you something.  Tricare sucks…until you don’t have it anymore.  Someone cue the Janet Jackson…

While we were on Active Duty, we enjoyed the benefit of having Tricare Prime (and Tricare Prime Remote while he was in Korea).  I never paid a co-pay, I didn’t think twice about making a doctor’s appointment if it was necessary, I had regular women’s and dental exams, etc.  DH and I are pretty healthy people, so I don’t tend to need medical care that often, but when I did, Tricare was there.  The only thing I had to supplement was my vision insurance, so that I could get the contacts and glasses that I’ve been wearing since age 12.  Luckily, vision plans through my work have always been fairly inexpensive (+/- $15 a month).

As a reservist, you lose out on those Tricare benefits.  Sure, we could be covered if DH was medically discharged and had a high percentage rate, but he wasn’t (which I’m thankful for).  There is a transition program (TAMP) to help cover you after you end your military service, but no one gives clear information about it.  We were told we couldn’t get it, then DH was told that we had it, etc, etc.  So, the entire time when I thought I wasn’t covered, I really could’ve gone to the doctor.

Tricare does offer insurance to reservists, but Prime is no longer an option – it’s Tricare Standard or nothing at all!  Standard is the military equivalent of a PPO, as you know, and I really prefer Prime (which is like an HMO).  I don’t require a lot of specialized care, so I would much rather go to a general practitioner for free, then to pay co-pays.  So, not only do you not have a choice anymore, but you also have to pay monthly premiums.  Lest I sound like a complete whiny, crybaby, poopy pants, I know that the $197.76 monthly family premium is a lot less than what many civilians pay.  However, when you’re essentially a one income family supporting three adults, the cost becomes a concern.  There’s not many options either – we can insure DH alone, or insure all of us as a family.  There’s no option for a dual military family to get a reduced rate for two service members and a dependent(s).

United Concordia (Tricare’s dental provider) has a lot more options for coverage.  You can insure the service member, only one family member, all of the family members, or the service member and all family members.  This works out a lot better for us, since we can opt to insure just DD (dear daughter) right now.  The cost is more expensive for us again – AD families can insure their entire family for the amount that it’ll cost us to just insure DD.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s not a fair system, or that we should be entitled to the same benefits as active duty families, because I don’t believe that to be so.  The assumption being made here is that a reservist has another job that may be covering their insurance and/or bringing in significantly more money than military pay, which isn’t true for us, sadly.  I also know we’re fortunate to have the option of insurance, as many families do not.

As a dual military family, I’ll soon be considered on active duty status when I’m at BMT, which is going to be a great boost to our family income.  I know we’re not the first ever dual military family, so you’d think that Tricare and DEERS would have this system figured out already.  Wrong!  When I asked about how our premiums and coverage would work when I began active duty, they said I had to manually switch DD over to my social security number in DEERS in order for her to be covered, as well as switch her to Tricare Prime.  Apparently children can only be covered under one social security number.  Don’t ask me why the system can’t recognize two military family members and automatically charge at the lower rate of whomever is active at that time.  It’s ridiculous, really, since I’m sure I’m not the first person with this issue.  I wasn’t originally planning to put DD as a dependent of mine, but I guess I am now.  It makes no sense for us to pay reserve premiums while I’m on active duty.  The whole thing sounds like another logistical nightmare for me to handle prior to my departure.

My own rambling and whining aside, the moral of this story is…

if you’re active duty, love thy Tricare

…you’ll miss it when it’s gone and you’re no longer entitled to that benefit – and yes – it IS a benefit.

PS.  I almost forgot!  When we were purchasing said plans yesterday, we received an email from United Concordia, saying our policy was declined and our money refunded, because DD doesn’t live in our household.  They told us we needed to update our DEERS.  Uh, now I know we’re not the first non-custodial parents on the block!  C’mon, really?  So now DH has to attempt to handle all of this nonsense on Monday.