The Sausage Process


We've talked here on SpouseBUZZ before about how one person's weird is another person's normal. Things that help you cope with the craziness of mil-life are not always the same things that help other people cope. I was reminded of this the last time I wrote a post, when I discovered that my normal was other people's weird.

You see, we don't hide the sausage process from our extended family.

You've heard the expression that you never want to see sausage being made? It's a messy process. The same often goes for finding out what your next duty station will be. Sometimes it flip-flops endlessly. You might get to submit preferences. You discuss as a family the pros and cons of each choice. You deliberate. You sumbit. You wonder if you'll get your choice. Sometimes you research housing or schools in the areas. You may start to get your heart set on one choice. And then you find out your assignment. But if there's enough time still left before it becomes official, you know deep down that it could change again. Sometimes it does. Sometimes at the last minute. Sometimes you're left researching housing and schools on the day before you're moving!

It can bean ugly and frustrating process. And it seems many families keep the process to themselves and don't share the sausage until it's ready for consumption.

We, on the other hand, have a different normal. We tell our extended family about the possibilities. I am not a spontaneous person, and I always need time to get used to ideas, even if they might change. I'd rather know in advance what the possibilities are rather than have it sprung on me in the end, and I operate on that assumption with our families as well. I assume they'd rather let an idea grow on them instead of hearing me blurt out, "Hey, Mom, we're moving down the street from my in-laws in two weeks!"

Other people bluntlyinformed meon that last post that letting families watch the sausage process is a bad idea. Your normal, not mine. Not every family is comfortable keeping the process a secret. Some of us cash those chips as they come.

And for our family, it simply wouldn't have worked most of the time. We knew we were PCSing to Germany long before we got orders, whichdidn't get cut untilsix daysbefore we cleared our previous post. There's no way we would've dropped an overseas tour bomb on families at the last minute. The duty station we're at now, we got our orders to here on the way out of town. As in, we turned in our keys to our apartment, loaded the dog in the car, and swung by to pick upthe orders as we left town to drive here! We should've called family on the cell phone from the car and told them where we were moving?

We let them watch the sausage process. I personally think it's not a bad idea: it gives our family a sense of the chaos we endure on a daily basis in the military! They understand how we have to be ready for any change and how much up-and-down there is in the lifestyle. They always know that whatever we tell them is subject to change, and that they shouldn't get their heart set on (or crushed by)anything until it really happens. But we let them know the possibilities ahead of time because they are family and we keep them involved in our life.

Your mileage may vary. But that's my normal.

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