Part of being a military spouse is getting used to sporadic communication. It's a big part. I can't remember the last time I was able to just pick up a phone and call my husband at work - even when he's not deployed - because he tends to work in places he can't bring his cell phone.
He might be in a meeting, so his phone will be turned off. He might not even be in the country, although I have to say that I generally know when that's the case. Or at least, I think I know. As far as I know. Oh, you know what I mean!
Last week, a few SpouseBUZZ authors were able to visit with some awesome spouses in the Eglin AFB area of Florida, and we had a great time. The weather was light and gorgeous, the skies were blue, the water was green, the people were positive, high-spirited, and fun... And my husband stayed home with the kids. No kids for me! It was absolutely lovely.
I soon became aware of a significant issue, though. After a number of years (in the double digits) holding the power of the phone call in his hands, my husband has lost all sense of what is appropriate. Flush with time and no artificial security or border barriers on the power of his dialing finger, my husband proceeded to call approximately every five to ten minutes. When the SB chicas and I were eating dinner? He called. Twice. He also called when I was in the bathroom. Oh - and right after I fell asleep. There was a call waiting for me when I got off the airplane. I got a wake up call, and I even got an interestingly vague text while he and the kids were at the movies, "Theater on fire. Don't worry - everyone's okay."
I'm thinking that last one warranted a phone call.
I could have turned my phone off, but I didn't find that appropriate when dealing with the love of my life. Instead, when I was awoken (for the second time) (in the same night) with a phone call, I decided to use a time-honored military tradition... We needed a Come to Jesus about phone boundaries.
Boundary #1: Texts are always fine. If I'm busy, like the time you texted (five times) while I was on stage with the Eglin spouses, I'll answer as soon as I'm free.
Boundary #2: If I tell you I'm going to sleep, please remember that I have suffered from a crazy amount of insomnia since deployment #1 in 2003. I know you tell me to "Just go to sleep!" and I wish it were that simple. But it's not. If you wake me up, I stay up. If you know I'm going to sleep, please wait for ME to call YOU. If you're afraid you will forget whatever it is you need to tell me before I wake up, text it. Or email it.
Boundary #3: My phone records my missed phone calls. It's kind of like the elevator - pressing the button eight times won't make me call back more quickly.
Don't get me wrong, Air Force Guy and I spend enough time on the phone that I've already started saving for the medical treatment such frequent exposure to cell phone radiation is supposed to cause. We even text each other pictures of the food we eat (before we eat it, we do have some semblance of manners. In public, anyway)! But I'm not going to actually be ABLE to eat unless the phone stops ringing. I'm just sayin' here.
For his part, AFG found the whole thing hilarious when I brought it to his attention. He said that he had been suffering from a sense of discombobulation that I was the one TDY this time, and he had no idea where we keep the dishwasher tablets. Or the laundry detergent. Or the milk, for that matter. I thought it was hilarious that he referred to it as my TDY. We managed to work the whole thing out.
I also remembered to make one more thing perfectly clear - when he is deployed, all rules are out the window. I could be meeting with the President and waiting for a keynote speech by God and I will still answer that call.
Even in the bathroom.