Hi guys! I really don’t even know where to begin. I tried writing down some bullet points so I don’t just jump all over in this blog post but I probably still will so forgive me! Let me start by saying if you haven’t read my first Air Force Life blog post I would do that before starting this one. You can find that HERE. Also this post is going to be pretty long so grab a drink and some snacks!
I’m just going to start off where I left with the last blog post. So I’m still very new to the military life but there has been no shortage of chaos. After my last blog post my husband finished up training in San Antonio, TX and we were off to our next base in AZ! We were sooo excited to be in a big city with actual THINGS! We packed up our belongings and pup in Texas and made our way to Phoenix. Moved into our rental and we were so happy to finally be here and start this new adventure. Movers came, new furniture got delivered, got completely unpacked (unheard of getting settled in a matter of 2 days but I was determined) and we were ready to relax and enjoy Phoenix living.
I’m not being dramatic (ok maybe a little) when I tell you I felt like I was living in Beverly hills compared to where we just moved from. I mean there was an Einsteins Bagels and a Target right now the road people…A TARGET! So one morning I go out to Starbucks and get my usual Iced caramel macchiato and a puppaccino for Duke and come home to finally relax from unpacking and catch up on my favorite trash tv. My husband was in the room getting dressed to go to the new base to inprocess. I could hear him on the phone with someone and I knew it was someone at the base and he was getting some details for the day. I sit my happy little butt down on our new couch and not 2 minutes later does he walk out of the room with this reeeeally odd smirk on his face. It was a mix of she’s going to kill me + this would happen to us.
**I must add he only had his tan shirt, underwear and socks on so everything mixed together was beyond confusing**
I’m going to be honest with you this next part is a little fuzzy because I think I legitimately blacked out. He says…”We are supposed to be in Tucson….” and of course the natural reaction…”What do you mean we are supposed to be in Tucson………..?!?!?!“. He then continues to tell me they sent us to the wrong base…THE. WRONG. BASE. We sent furniture to Phoenix, we unpacked, we have trips planned in and out of the phx airport, we had plans here how could they have sent us to the wrong base?! I know we aren’t the first this has happened to and we won’t be the last.
Obviously there was straight chaos coming from my side of the room for the next hour. Tears, cursing, phone calls to family..I was absolutely furious. My husband called his contact back to get the details of where the heck we were supposed to be and how all of this happened in the first place. The woman he was speaking to said..”I’m so sorry sir, would you like me to speak to your wife and explain everything and apologize?” and my husband responded with “That’s probably not the best idea right now..“. At that point once again life was flipped upside down. Things could have been worse but that wasn’t an ideal situation. We headed down to Tucson about an hour later and started the house hunt! We found a rental in a couple of days thank goodness. We scheduled the movers to come back and repack all of our things and move them to our new house in Tucson. I will say I am so thankful the Air Force takes care of moving because if I had to personally do that twice I would have lost my mind…again.
So here we are now in Tucson. Got the house unpacked, everything delivered and we can finally breath again. My husband started training on his new airframe and everything’s going great for us. My husband is a reservist and we had plans to move to FL (where his new unit was) after his training and we couldn’t have been more excited. The people there were amazing and the area was even better. I mean come on the ocean 20 minutes away?! I’ll take that! We couldn’t wait to start our new lives there and all of the fun things we were going to be able to experience. Flash forward about 3 months. Life happened and my husband has to switch airframes. I’ll never forget the moment I was told that. I was sitting at the kitchen table and got the text. For a second it didn’t hit me and then…cue the waterworks. EVERYTHING we had planned was now gone. I should’ve taken my own advice and not got attached to those plans but I did! I know most, if not all of you can relate to that. You get excited about something it’s natural!
So here I am to make the rounds of phone calls to my parents again. I can barely speak. I am just so upset because for once in our marriage (I should note that since the day we have gotten married my husband has been in constant training for the Air Force..talk about stress) it felt like we finally had a plan. We knew where we were going to be living for a good majority of time, we knew the people my husband was going to be working with, we knew where we were going to start a family and that’s more than we have ever known. In the military you really can’t make plans. For us, our whole marriage has been training. I called my parents and each one said the same thing. “It’s all going to work out but you have to stay strong for Kevin.” That was the perfect advice and exactly what I needed to hear. It put everything into perspective right away. I couldn’t imagine how he was feeling. This was his career!!! I immediately got myself into check, wiped the tears away and told him no big deal we’ll figure it out! He never once saw me stressed about this new life change, cry about it, complain that this had happened, nothing.
I am not ashamed to say that I am so damn proud of myself for holding it all together during this time in our life. He was already feeling SO many different types of stress and sadness that if I had also showed that I was scared and I was mad at what happened (excuse my language) shit would of gone south real quick. This was a really testing time in our marriage too. We have only been married at just over 2 years at this point. Not knowing where our next pay check would be coming from, if he would be in an airframe he loved, where we would be living, if we would be having to move again in the next week to start training somewhere else. Here we were again..back to square one.. no plan.
My husband has dreamed of being a Fighter pilot and he has worked SO SO SO hard to get here. For those of you who have wives or husbands who have gone through UPT and IFF you know what I’m talking about. I could never have done it and the people who do are seriously the most hard working and dedicated people I know. So the thought of him not being in a fighter was eye opening. There was a 99% chance that he would have to go to a heavy because that was the needs of the Air Force at the time. Of course there’s nothing wrong with bombers or heavies but that wasn’t his dream. They needed someone to fly that plane and he was qualified. They gave him 1 month to make something else happen and if he couldn’t get something else to work out he’d be sent to whatever plane needed pilots at the time. He was on the phone day and night reaching out to every contact he had in the Fighter community trying to see if there was ANYTHING available in any unit. A few weeks later he was invited out to interview with an A-10 unit and I get a phone call Saturday evening as I’m pulling up to petco with Duke and he says “They hired me and I’m starting B course on Monday!”. You guyyyyyyyys I was bawwwwwling tears of happiness! Just so freaking happy for HIM! And like what starting training 2 days later?! I have no doubt in my mind this all happened the way God planned for it to happen. It’s hard to tell where he’s going with his plans but they always come full circle. Also the craziest thing is if we didn’t already live in Tucson (Where the A-10 B course is) they wouldn’t have let him in the B course because they didn’t want to deal with moving us. So thank God we got moved to Tucson!!! The greatest part of all this is that this was his #1 choice to fly. He grew up watching his dad fly the A-10 and now he gets to and that’s pretty cool.
We went out and met my husbands new A-10 unit and they are awesome! Really great people and a great squadron to be a part of. I always have in the back of my mind my own advice…don’t get attached to plans. After everything this year has thrown at us I have learned to expect the unexpected at ALL TIMES. Not much can throw me off my game anymore.
As much as the military can change aspects of my life the one thing that is constant is that my husband and I are together. Truly that is all that matters. We remind ourselves frequently that as long as we are healthy and our families are healthy that’s all we need in life. Things have happened in our personal lives that put life completely into perspective. What has happened this past 6 months is honestly nothing when you look back at it. Big deal we had to move a few times.. things could be worse. It was a bad situation but we came out of it stronger and more thankful for the things we have now. My advice to you is don’t sweat the small stuff (aka Everything). Living the life as a Military wife is not the most glamorous, like at all. If you let each and every change or mistake take its toll on you, you will slowly start to just wither away. The changes will never stop coming, deployments are going to happen, moving is inevitable and time away from you spouse is sadly the regular. Learn to love and cherish the time you do have together. Learn to think of the moves as another great place you have lived and all the amazing memories you made at each base. Lastly learn to just be thankful you have each other. As long as you both are safe and healthy the rest will fall into place..and don’t stress about Kitchenaid the movers broke you can buy another. lol Writing this has been so therapeutic for me. This life is hard and I couldn’t have imagined half of this happening but I just have to remember it could be worse and I’m thankful it’s not.
Lastly I have some questions from some of you that I wanted to answer and hopefully help you!
1. What are some things you’ve done to help get through time apart/distance?
When Kevin and I started dating we lived in different states so we were long distance for a year and a half. So we were kind of already used to time apart! It was never easy but being in communication a lot helps. We always skype or facetime while he’s away. Also having my own “Thing” helps a ton. I stay so busy when he’s away that it makes the time go by faster!
2. What are your husbands goals in the Air Force?
His goal in the Air force is to make it a career (20+ years) and fly the A-10 as long as possible!
3. Any PCS tips?
Well let me start by saying PCSing is the worst. lol I don’t think anyone enjoys moving! We have been married 2 years and we are on move #4.
* Always get your movers some drinks and snacks to have while they are packing up! It’s not an easy job and you want the people who are handling your stuff to be happy and like you so that they take care of your things. Pizza and doughnuts always do the trick!*
First tip is clear out a room or section of your home and put everything that is valuable to you in there and move that yourself! You never know what can get lost or damaged and I don’t think it’s worth the risk. The things we move ourselves are photo albums, wedding things, my husbands AF patches, coins, etc. If you would be very upset that something happened to something of yours then I would suggest taking it yourself.
One more tip is for when the movers are delivering all your stuff…as they are bringing in all of the containers take everything out of them as fast as you can and just lay it all in a big area (ours was the kitchen) and you can worry about finding a place for it all later. Many of you will know what I’m talking about but there is no bigger nightmare than having 100 huge containers laying in your house or garage for the next couple weeks or months because you can’t find a place to take them. So if you hurry and get everything out of them before the movers leave you can have the movers take them! You are left with a MUCH smaller mess! When we moved to phoenix our whole garage was filled with them and it took soooo many trips back and forth to get rid of these things.
4. How do you handle being a wife with your husband’s crazy schedule? Also how hard is it when they deploy/TDY or train for extended periods of time?
I was kind of thrown into this life so I didn’t really have to transition into having time apart from Kevin. We were married for about 3 weeks and then he was off to IFT. So that was the first training where he was gone for a while but I stayed home and lived with my family which helped! Immediately after that we moved to Texas for UPT where he was gone 24/7. Even if he was home he wasn’t really “home” because his mind was always focused on the next flight or next test. I was understanding though that this year he had to put everything into UPT in order to be successful. When he had to go to SERE after UPT that was a month alone. Luckily, one of my best friends Ashlyn (She also has a blog HERE) husband left for training that month too so we were alone together! lol We came up with a really good routine of working out together at 10 am everyday then going for a 3 mile walk at 5 every night with the pups and many “Girls nights” and watching trash tv together. So having a routine and something to keep me busy helped! The month flew by. I haven’t gone through a deployment yet but I honestly think I would go back home. Blogging is my job so I can take it anywhere and it all depends where we are in our life when it happens but we will cross that bridge when we come to it. So my main advice to getting through his crazy schedule and time apart is to have your own thing. Whether that be starting a blog, working out, learning to cook, taking voice lessons, volunteering somewhere just make sure you have something of your own! It will keep you busy but it also feels awesome to have something so special of your own.
I really hope you were able to get through all of this! This was my longest blog post yet but something like this can’t be wrapped up in a couple paragraphs haha. I truly hope that this helped someone who may be going through something similar. Trust me you are not alone!! We only see the glamorous side of everyone’s lives and not the tear filled, same sweats for 2 weeks, take out eating side of our lives. Please ALWAYS feel free to reach out to me if you ever have any questions. I’m not a pro and this life is still very new to me but I’ll help where I can! Thank you so much for reading!!!!