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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Army Rant

Please let me say that I completely understand that this job is what Josh signed up for and in marrying him, I accepted this. I get that it "pays our bills" and I cannot deny that the Army life has some benefits, BUT it has a LOT of portions about it that I hate; A lot that don't have to be this way and a lot of things generally go on that effect us in negative ways. Oh how naive I was when I said "I do"; Not that I would have changed my answer, but man, if there had been a REAL Army Wife's Handbook I would have been so much more prepared!

The deployments stink, but so far I have handled them with as much grace as I am capable of, but there are some aspects of my job as the Army wife that I simply HATE tolerating. Deployments themselves will be left out of this rant because we all know (or can imagine) how bad they suck and I'll do us all a favor and not cry about deployments this week. I'll save that for May.

First, we aren't paid any more when Josh works 8 hours versus 16 hours. Since we have been married, this is the first job in any unit that Josh has had where he leaves the house at 4:30am and doesn't come home after p/t, doesn't make it home for lunch, and he is "early" if he is home before 6:30. Now I understand that he has a job to do, but typically he isn't doing a job, he's sitting around waiting on someone else to do their job. Have you all heard the sarcastic phrase, "Hurry up and wait?" Well THAT should be the Army's motto.

Second, if you know you're going to send him into the field for a week at a time, could you at least have the decency to warn me perhaps a week in advance? Is that too much to ask? Heaven's forbid I make plans or try to do something during the limited amount of time my husband is supposed to be home in the evening.

Third, what's with the wives who wear their husband's rank? I would be embarrassed to take a position that I am only receiving because I sleep with (okay, married; I'm being a little ugly) someone who is in a position of authority. Also on that note, even if you are a commander's wife or something to that effect, you are under no obligation to take on a job of something such as an FRG coordinator, so please do us all the favor and if you're not committed to it, say "no thank you." Furthermore, there's no need to abuse this position and to threaten the wives with husbands of 'lesser rank'. I think the FRG could be stronger and more productive if the people who ran it were either in the Army or were paid civilians and had no personal attachment to any of the soldiers; When you put a wife you get egos and people do things to benefit their family and not necessarily the families of their soldiers.

Fourth, to the holy FRG; I don't understand your purpose. I have heard of great ones, but I don't believe we have been a part of one of those FRG's yet. You are supposed to have my contact information for things such as emergencies and pertinent information to pass on during deployments. If I wanted to make friends through the Army, then I would do that, but I don't have this desire for many of the reasons I am ranting about right now. Just like the telemarketing calls that I hate, I also hate SPAM, which is what I consider 99% of the FRG emails I have received to be. I don't understand the point in donating/raising money to go towards the FRG for that money to then go towards things like "mandatory fun day at the lake". How about I keep my money and if we want to go to the lake as a family we'll pay for ourselves. Isn't that smarter?

Fifth, anything referred to as "mandatory fun" really isn't fun. That's a rather deceiving title. Know what's really fun? Time off.

Sixth, I am constantly hearing the importance of family, and then it seems like the chain of command continually makes decisions that are unnecessarily contradicting of that phrase. For example, a required work day spent at the lake should not come before Stephen's preschool open house. Furthermore, I am pregnant and Texas is hot and the lakes here are pretty grungy. The LAST thing I want to do is go and sit in the heat first thing in the morning, every 15 minutes us a nasty port-o-potty, and sit around with strangers from Josh's work, and have any of us wade in water that will change the color of our suits. Shouldn't an event like this be optional? Shouldn't Josh be able to put Stephen's school first when he is home and there's nothing of importance that needs to be done that day for the Army?

Seventh, Josh has all of this leave that builds up because there are few opportunities to use it. A few weeks ago there was a block leave that was offered for a week, but on Thursday they scheduled Josh for a 24 hour shift so really he could only use 3 days off that week. Then two weeks after this, last week, he was offered another week off. If we had wanted to vacation and see family, not only would 7 days not be worth the money to spend on plane tickets, but the leave time wasn't approved for either time off block until 1-2 days before he was allowed to take it.

I really do respect my husband's job and most other jobs of other Army members. I do, though, wish that some of the basic bs would be cut out of the job. I hate that the Army can depend on my husband but we cannot. I never really know when or IF he'll be home and it's next to impossible to make a plan with any type of advance notice. I don't know that he will be able to get off work for the delivery of his first child. I feel like when he is here at this base and not deployed, we should have more stabilty.

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