This, in a nutshell, is military life. Lots of long sentences of waiting punctuated with bursts of hurrying up. Sometimes we have to hurry up just to be able to get to the next stage of wait. Sometimes we're given dire consequences if we don't hurry up, which then turn into admonitions to "Calm down, we have time. Just wait a bit."
Hubby and I, having passed the sleepless nights of "Hurry Up and Fill Out the Dream Sheet Before All the Good Assignments are Gone", are now engaged in the waiting. It's nearly April and most of the assignments (to various schools) require a report date of sometime in July. I'm expecting to get a phone call in August asking hubby why he never reported.
Now, I come from a family with a long military background. I occasionally discuss the assignment process frustration with hurry up and wait, but the first conversation I had with my grandfather showed how much things had changed.
"Why," he asked me, "don't you just take the assignment officer a case of beer? The good stuff, mind you. Don't try to pass off any of that Miser-brau your Grandmother buys."
Much as the simplicity of my Grandfather's solution appeals to me (in fact, it is how he managed to get an assignment as a Weather Officer in the South Pacific when his eyes failed to pass the test to be a pilot - at least he was IN a plane, he felt), things just don't work that way anymore. It's almost a shame, I would have counted hubby's airfare to San Antonio and the day of baking gourmet cookies to go with "the good stuff" money and time well spent.
One really sweet wife I made the acquaintance of while hubby was in school at Goodfellow AFB described the hurry up and wait of the assignment process as being like a pregnancy. I really wish she hadn't done that. You see, I'm one of those people "blessed" with extra long pregnancies. Nine months? Nope, too simple for me! Every one of my pregnancies lasted two or three weeks longer than they were supposed to.
In any case, what she meant was that every single time you feel like the waiting is never going to end and you'll be pregnant forever. I know that I certainly had visions of walking everywhere holding up my enormous belly with a wheelbarrow, or possible (given the size of the children I delivered) a forklift. By the time I was a week and a half past my due date, I was despairing that the only way I was going to be not-pregnant again was when my unborn child reached puberty and busted out of my straining stomach alien-style.
I'm at this point now in the assignment process. Whenever hubby brings up where we might be going next I burst out with, "Nope! Don't tell me! I'm planning on spending the rest of my life here!" I then make a big production of surveying online catalogs for new curtains specifically ordered to fit the windows in our house.
Because any military family knows that as soon as you pay for custom curtains the assignment orders arrive. :)