Air Force Guy has some training before he leaves on TDY this summer. It's the kind of training he loves, and loves to complain about - the rough stuff that involves 1Million SPF sunblock and bug repellent with 100% DEET.
And shopping. It also involves lots of shopping. Don't get me wrong - I love shopping, but this shopping has the power to drive me completely insane. Because my husband is a Geardo.
A Geardo, for those who haven't seen the updated version of the English to Militarese dictionary, is someone who adores and collects every bit of gear possible. If it's the newest thing, they will find a way to have it. They are like the Inspector Gadgets of the deployed military world.
I really don't think there's any question in anyone's mind how much I love my husband. If a piece of equipment is going to give him even the slightest advantage when deployed, I'll agree to pay out the nose for it.
In fact, right before his last deployment I spent a week trying to track down extra IR Flags because AFG felt he didn't have enough issued to avoid possible catastrophe. Let's itemize here: a week contacting every active duty person, every retired military person, and every military civilian I knew to find IR Flags (which were bottlenecked on the supply side) including - of my own volition - giving two nights babysitting to a sergeant who worked in supply on the Army base to finally find that a certain catalog many military folk order their extra gear from sold IR Flags to people with the proper credentials. THEN, because AFG was due to leave in five days, I ordered 10$ worth of the items, paid the 28$ overnight fee to get them to him in time, and was singularly shocked that what showed up was something the size of a few pieces of masking tape.
THIS had some kind of magical protective power? Worth nearly 40$? Sure, if AFG said so, I believe it.
And I didn't resent it, either. It's become one of those war stories we tell with glee at gatherings, and is particularly well seasoned with the help of a gruff NCO from Vietnam who had just retired from the Corps of Engineers as a civilian and who spent quite a few hours of his own tracking this stuff down for us and finally finding us the supplier. For people unfamiliar with the way the military family works, the mobilization of everyone we knew to find such a simple item is like a real life version of a Brad Thor novel.
But if AFG really needed this, I wasn't one to deny it.
Somehow, I just don't feel the same sense of urgency when my beloved husband is heading off to a training. When AFG brought his gear list home, filling with checks and stars and notes about things he ABSOLUTELY NEEDED to take with him, I'll admit - I cringed. Quite a chunk of our income seemed to take on wings and fly off into that oblivion that is Brigade Quartermasters catalog.
AFG: I think I need some more Safari shirts.
Me: Are you planning on hunting elephants while you're there or taking a Memorial Photo in honor of the Crocodile Hunter?
AFG: Well, you know - they are really comfortable. If we can find some on sale, we should get some. Also, I don't think we have enough duct tape.
Me: You're kidding, right? We have, like, seventy eleven rolls! Here, let me get one for you.
AFG: We don't have the right color.
Me: ???????? What are you planning to do? Make a purse with it to go with your shoes?
AFG: *Sigh* No. But it's the wrong color. I need brown. Hey - I need a field watch, too.
You can see how I have to remove myself entirely from discussions about buying equipment. I'm dreading the day he brings up the holster argument again. Apparently, he got teased about the brand of holster he has last time.
At this point, AFG's gear takes up a good one quarter of our storage area. It's on shelves, in laundry bags, in helmet bags, four duffles full, spilling out of various footlockers, and in a grand masterpiece of one huge black zip up bag specifically designed to help Geardos transport their things. And he wants more.
Oh - did I mention what happens when AFG's buddies come and visit? They go down and look through all the gear and talk shop for HOURS. Which I find funny. What I don't find funny is cleaning up after them. Taking gear out and spreading it around is much more fun than re-packing it neatly - I think we all understand that. But I most certainly was not formally trained to re-pack such things, although I usually end up being the one to clean it up just so I can reach my washer and dryer.
I have begun to develop a fear that sometime before he retires AFG will reach critical gear mass and we'll have to rent a second house just to store them all. And all of it, he assures me, completely necessary.