So, six days back and hubby is catching up on many things that had to wait while he was gone. Of course, chief among those things is something rather unmentionable in polite company, but frequently alluded to.
But a close second in importance is hubby's new assignment. It's overdue. And he's looking hard to find the one that is open, fits career opportunities and track, and keeps his wife happy.
Yes, that's right. Keeping the wife happy. Very important, although it definitely has to be balanced with the other considerations. So what exactly is it that keeps this wife happy in the assignment process? After all, I am the weirdo who loves to PCS - it's like getting a paid vacation for two or three years.
First, let me say that I do not stomp and scream and threaten dire consequences if the correct career choice leads us to somewhere I do not want to go. Even if it is (gasp) Texas again. Let's face it, at this juncture in our lives, my Avon sales do not afford us the standard of living that hubby's paycheck does; nor does it have much of an impact on the world or the Global War on Terror. I may have preferences, but that does not mean those preferences will be available choices.
Let me give a quick example of how this has worked for us so far. When hubby graduated in 1998, we were sent to New Hampshire for a year recruiting for AFROTC. New Hampshire. Even though I had a degree in Political Science, I had rather forgotten that New Hampshire even existed. I knew it abstractly, but this was before the advent of the state quarters which minted the character of each state for all posterity. As a born and bred Californian, New Hampshire was an entirely different planet for me. But interesting- we made the most of our stationing there by spending a lot of time in the Mountains, a lot of time in Boston, and a lot of time in Maine.
Then San Angelo, Texas. Yet another huge culture shock. And may I give a wave and a shout out to my buddies at Mejor Que Nada?
But hubby's next assignment, to Kelly AFB in San Antonio, was the first time I actually had to sequester myself in the bathroom for a while to come to terms with feelings of dread. We had wanted to go overseas! I was dreaming of Christmas in Great Britain, or possibly Turkey. Instead, we were going to be spending the next three years in Texas. I stared jealously at the wives who were getting ready to travel on Uncle Sam's dime. It's probably a good thing we hadn't ever been stationed in Louisiana, or there may have been some voodoo involved.
San Antonio was much better than I had expected it to be. There were a few hiccups and burps - like the time I came down with heat dementia at the San Antonio Zoo. Oh, and my first encounter with a flying cockroach. But I also can't imagine a more supportive place to have been stationed on September 11th.
I was SURE that we would be going overseas on hubby's next assignment. Imagine my surprise when we got sent to California. Now, granted - as a native Californian myself I am well aware that California can seem like a whole different country. And the job was PERFECT for hubby. He loved every minute there, even though we were stationed right smack in the middle of the most anti-military area that exists in the United States (the day the Iraq War started, some sweet soul scratched a swastika on my minivan right under my military wife sticker while it was parked in the Target parking lot).
Once again, we made the most of the assignment and visited, toured, drove, and went sightseeing every chance we got.
Let me tell you - when other kids talk about historical events in school my kids have seen most of them. In California alone we made a point to visit Sutter's Mill, Angel Island, Alcatraz, we followed the Mission Trail, and spent time in Solvang. They've been to several Revolutionary War Battlefields on the East Coast (including the annual Christmas Day re-enactment of Washington Crossing the Delaware), Sleepy Hollow, Niagara Falls, the Oklahoma City Memorial, Washington D.C., Gettysburg, and the St. Louis Arch among many other stops. It's not something we would trade for the world.
Needless to say, our current station is stateside also. And I'm pretty sure looking at the lists hubby has brought home that we will remain stateside (at least, the kids and I will - hubby seems to spend a lot of time going overseas to places I wouldn't quite want to go anyway, as I prefer my sand on beaches). And that's fine - after all, we have to follow the career path and there are still many years left for hubby to get us overseas.
So, now that hubby's home, we have a new countdown. The countdown to finding out our next duty station, then the countdown to moving. It will be very interesting to find out where the Air Force wants us to go next. But don't worry - I'll be sure to tell you all about it.