13 January 2012

milspouse q&a

Since I only have a few months left of being considered a "milspouse," I figured I would answer some questions on it now.  (Yep, joining the bandwagon!)  Mine might be a bit different from others you have read lately, since we're on our way out of this interesting lifestyle.  This was looking like a major wall of text, so I added some pictures :)

How did you and your spouse meet?  Via the internet, specifically okcupid.com.  I had been using this free dating site my last semester of college and found B on there right around the time I graduated.  We met in person after I moved to Jacksonville, FL, a few months later.
This was taken by one of my new AmeriCorps friends on the night we met
How old were you when you two met?  I was 22, he was 23.

How long have you been together?  Dating since fall of 2006, married since fall 2008.  So, together for 5 years now!  (That still kinda blows my mind sometimes because I still feel like I'm 23.)

Where are you and your spouse originally from?  I'm from Lawrenceville, GA (read: suburban Atlanta), where I lived in the same house for as long as I could remember.  B's hometown is Zionsville, IN (read: suburban Indianapolis), but he moved around a bit as a child.  His family settled in Z-ville when he started middle school.

How did you feel about him joining the military?  We hadn't met yet, so I had no say in the matter.  I didn't grow up around military, so I didn't really understand it until I met him.

Where did your spouse go to Basic Training?  He was commissioned through OCS here in Pensacola.  I don't think he ever thought he'd be coming back here to live!

Has your spouse ever been deployed?  Yep, twice with the same sub.

Ever been to his promotion ceremony?  Nope.  I was a girlfriend when he was promoted to LTJG, and he didn't know he was allowed to bring me (his command at the time was pretty anti-girlfriend).  He got his dolphins while on deployment, and he was promoted to LT while on an underway right after we got married.  In the grand scheme of things, this is all not a big deal since we're trading it in for him to be home for things like his daughter's first day of Kindergarten.
His first homecoming.  I'm pointing to his newly-earned dolphins!
How long have you been a military wife?  2 years and some change.  And I won't make it to 3!

Did you marry him before or after he joined?  After he joined.

How did your husband propose?  We took a long weekend trip to Charlottesville, VA, to celebrate the end of his first deployment.  I told him to pick a nice restaurant for one of the nights, and he made reservations.  He proposed in the restaurant, after dessert.  I honestly did not expect it that night!  If you want to read the long version of the story, here it is.

Where did you get married?  My home parish in Lilburn, GA (same place I was baptized and hit every other Catholic milestone).  I think that was the one stipulation my dad gave B when he called a few days before proposing to "ask" for my hand.

How old were you two when you got married?  I was 25 and he was 26.

Did he wear his uniform on your wedding day?  Nope; B wore a rented tux.  The only person in uniform there was our friend who helped as Eucharistic minister, whom I had known since high school and was one of the enlisteds on B's sub (small world, huh?).
Our wedding day: no ribbons or swords
Where are you and your spouse currently stationed?  NAS Pensacola.  And no, he's not in the aviation community!  (His command is NSTC Great Lakes Pensacola.  Confusing?  Yes.)

Do you live on base?  No, but we live 2 minutes from the back gate.  I like the buffer.  And the monthly profit we make from BAH.

How long were you married when you had to go through your first separation?  I think about 10 days.  He went on an underway for a few weeks, missing Halloween and a fun party where I somehow got involved in a ridiculous dance-off.  During that underway, I also moved us into our 2-bed apartment (we didn't live together beforehand), and he had sent me an email about how late he'd be home when he got back, so I didn't leave keys to the new place.  His version of "late" was different from mine (I usually got home from work at 6), and he ended up hanging out at a local pizza joint until I got there because there was nothing at all left in the old apartment.

What is your favorite base so far?  It's really hard to compare Norfolk to Pensacola, since I did most of my time in Norfolk as a full civilian, not a milspouse.  The community I had in Norfolk was amazing, but I never really even felt welcome on the base there.  In a pure aesthetic sense, the base here in Pensacola is beautiful, but I haven't been forced to make friends in the same way, so the community is a bit lacking and people don't stay here for as long.
NAS Pensacola jogging trail with sandbar and bay behind it.  Picture taken from the passenger's seat of B's car.
Does your spouse look good in his uniform?  We both think he looks ridiculous in NWUs, but he only had to wear those for a brief time.  He looks good in the khakis he wears every day here, though!

Do you think military life is more advanced than civilian life?  I think it can make things move faster, as I see people get married and grow up a bit quicker than they may be ready for.  But if you're thinking of "advanced" as in "more forward," no.  I think military life can be a bit backwards at times--hell, sometimes I blame it for turning me into a 1950's housewife.  I don't think one way is better than the other, however.

Do you like the benefits you receive as a military dependent? For a frugal gal like myself, of course.  The top 3 parts I will miss when my dependent ID expires: 1) Free healthcare.  This keeps me awake some nights, but then I remember that both B and I grew up in civilian households and our families didn't go bankrupt from  our civilian insurance.  2) Commissary.  Even though the cost of housing is way lower here in Pensacola than it was in Norfolk, groceries are the same price.  And most FL stores don't double coupons, so the best way to shop without spending 30 hours a week trying to find the best deals at each store is to use the freakin' commissary.  3) Free gym.  I've budgeted in a gym membership for after we leave, but we even have a gym here at the other base that has free childcare.

Do you have a lot of military wife friends?  Yes and no?  I volunteer on base, so almost everyone there is a milspouse (or a retiree).  I click a bit better with milspouses right now, but just don't have a lot of friends in this area.  I'm planning on joining some mommy groups that will hopefully have a variety of women.

What is the hardest part of being a military wife?  It used to be the deployment "work-ups" (underway times) when he was on the boat.  Yes, the years he wasn't deployed were harder than the years he was.  And we somehow planned our out-of-town wedding around that blasted work-up schedule, which was a feat in and of itself.  I don't think there's anything hard about our life right now though.  This shore tour is so easy.

Do you own any military wife stuff?  I don't think so.  I have one shirt that just says NAVY across it.  Oh wait, my mother-in-law gave me this rock thingy when B was deployed that says, "God bless my sailor" that's on our bookshelf next to some trinkets B brought back from his port calls.
Bookshelf pic from old apt with the rock-thingy in the top middle.  Left of it, genie lamp from Bahrain; bull from Spain.
Do you support your spouse as a member of the military?  Of course.  And if he had any desire to be a "lifer" or even a reservist, I would be behind him 100%.  I'm definitely not the one who made him want to get out.


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