Some of the tales that give me the greatest laughs when hubby tells them are the "Scrounge Club" tales. They often start like this, "So, there we were ready to head off the FOB. We had one set of radios, but the receivers never came. Instead we got three flats of Sunscreen and one of microwave popcorn."
Hubby will then launch into a long narrative that involves about seven levels of trades to finally be able to rig up a workable radio system.
These are my favorite stories. What my hubby doesn't know, however, is that military spouses have a Scrounge Club, too.
For instance, I have two valuable commodities in my house - a teenage daughter who is home-schooled and can babysit at odd hours and the fact that as a current stay-at-home-mom (or as I like to call myself, President and CEO of Air Force Family) I can also watch children when emergencies arise for others in our neighborhood.
These two commodities have been of remarkable use in barter for me. One friend of ours, a single Army mom, had to attend 6 weeks of training and needed someone to watch her daughter. I didn't mind, and now I have a free notary service that comes to my home at all hours. This has been absolutely vital in the last several months as we've had to come up with legal papers after legal papers to deal with my MIL's dementia.
Note that there was no planned "payback"for the babysitting, but when you're a military family and you need something, there will always be someone to help. After all, it's a given that we're going to need something someday too. Building up karma is always a good policy - and it's the basis of the military spouse Scrounge Club.
Another valuable commodity in the MilSpouse Scrounge Club is lawn care. I know that a lot of women are very good at lawn care and take great pride in their lawns. I would take great pride, I wish that I could, but my lawn has to be very utilitarian because I possess the Legendary airforcewife Thumb of Death. Even living in an area with enough rainfall for frequent flood warnings and watches, my lawn STILL shows up with giant yellow spots. It looks like 20 foot dogs have been using my yard as their potty.
I constantly bless the wonderful woman who lived here prior to us. She planted an entire year's worth of bulbs all around the front of our house. Without any work from me, there is something blooming every season. In fact, if I were even to look at those bulbs for too long I would probably kill them all.
But I digress. The fact is that on the many occasions before Daughter #1 was old enough to take over lawn duties while hubby was gone, someone in the neighborhood would send over their husband to do it for me. Never once did I have to ask. At one duty station, my next door neighbor would jump at the chance to do my lawn, because I would always bake him a made-from-scratch pumpkin pie in thanks (no canned pumpkin for me thank-you-very-much).
And then, of course, is the ultimate Scrounge Club experience - PCS season. Come on, we've all done it. Anything left by the curb because it puts you over weight is fair game. Marna addressed that frequently in her book Household Baggage. My mother was absolutely horrified when I told her the origins of a bookcase in my daughter's room. I, however, use that as a triumphant party story when I'm around other military spouses.
I've given serious thought to starting up my own Scrounge Club T-shirt business. I can see it now - a picture of some junk on a curb with a huge SCROUNGE CLUB [BASE NAME] on top, and underneath...
You Know You Do It.