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Subtle as a Sledgehammer

I loved Sarah's post about The Sausage Process.  I very much share her normal.  I might even overshare her normal.  Sometimes I end up feeling foolish when all of these things I shared as possible turn out to be just another line item on the What a Doof You Are For Actually Thinking That Might Happen list.

At the beginning of the year things were pretty definite that Seadaddy would be spending a year overseas unaccompanied and would have a few months of summer schools before he left.  At least we thought they were 'pretty definite'.  We spent months getting ourselves ready for the good and bad aspects of these orders.   Then the orders changed.  Back to shore duty.  He would be heading to a new command, but his orders were for a satellite of the command that worked in the same place he had worked previously.  Since we lived less than a mile from the office, neither the Navy nor our family were concerned that these orders would necessitate the expense and hassle of a PCS move.  It was a win-win.

During in-processing, some fantastic paperwork black hole appeared and being able to work at the satellite location became delayed so they decided to bring him over to their main office for the interim.  Seadaddy was told a nice and tidy range of days he might expect to wait for everything to be cleared up.  He had some trainings and things that occupied his time in the first couple of months.  No harm, no foul.

Except the range of days had passed and he was still commuting twenty something miles instead of one.  They had no word on when to expect the All Clear on his in-processing.  In ridiculous (to me) news, the command had loaned him out to a neighboring command for one of their departments.  Seadaddy was now in a job he found interesting and fulfilling and had even been given a leadership position.  Things he would not have found in his intended assignment.  So there were a few things in his pro column when word came out that he would most likely stay put even if the paperwork came out of the abyss.

Did I mention we are a one car family?  In the DC area?  With a one year old and a two year old that need to be woken up at o'dark thirty any time we have to make doctor appointments or otherwise need the car on a work day?  That one son was recently diagnosed with autism and with the start of the school year came two weekly appointments with the Infants & Toddlers program?   That the idea of driving through DC traffic for a job I am not even working with one kid having at least one complete come apart meltdown a trip is really enough to make my blood boil?

I have spent a good deal of time imagining being asked a innocuous "How are you?" by someone in Seadaddy's command.  In my head, I replay Liv Tyler's scene in Empire Records where she becomes a bit unglued about things maybe not being "fine".   And while I spend time venting in my head and status updates, there has been some carry over of the venting and frustration directed at Seadaddy.   He tells me I don't know how these things work.  And Captain Obvious would be right.  I really don't.  But there is a piece of paper that says my husband should be working at a specific location for a specific command.  He is doing neither of those things.  If the Needs of the Navy require him to not fulfill his orders as written, show me the new ones that reflect our reality and I will take it down a notch or two.   I will weigh moving to a different (and worse) county versus staying put, re-prioritize affording a second car, and work with professionals on strategies to help our son handle what is, quite honestly, something he is currently incapable of handling.  But until then, I cannot just pretend that this is not hurting our family in many ways and is something I should quietly accept as normal and acceptable .  Don't orders mean anything?

Last Friday, we dropped Seadaddy off at work.  After listening to a particularly distressing breakdown of our son, words were exchanged.  Subtle words.  Seadaddy left the van after saying goodbye to the boys.  And because the silent treatment is never very effective, he had to call me thirty seconds later as he had forgotten his cell phone in his pocket and needed me to come back and pick it up.  We both laughed at that.

He came home that day with some news.  The in-processing is finally complete, and he has let his chain of command know the best thing for his family would be to get him back up to where we live.  I do appreciate what he will be giving up for us to not have to make that commute, and it seems likely there will not be too much longer until he is told he is squared away at their satellite office.  At least I hope so.

At some point, most of us have heard we knew what we were getting into marrying a military man.  I understood the part about 'negotiating' for orders being a super fun process with twists and turns and last minute change upon last minute change.  I did not know that the orders he did get might not mean too much to anyone but myself.

Sometimes I envy the prior service and dual military spouses.  They surely have a leg up on the ins and outs of 'normal' when it comes to things like this.  I don't want to be The Difficult Wife in desperate need of a wahmbulance, but I also don't want to choose not to advocate for my family (or subtly nudge Seadaddy to do so on our behalf) when there is a chance doing so would mean something to someone with the power to address an issue.

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