2.28.2013

My husband says I need help

The other day, MacGyver and I were talking. I had met (or re-met, as the case may be) a woman at swim practice that we went to college with. She had been dating one of the guys in MacGyver's ROTC battalion that  we were friends with and they later wound up getting married. Small world that the Army is, he's stationed here and one of their kids is on the same swim team as my children. It was great to run into her, catch up, see that she hasn't really changed, hear that their time in the Army is coming to an end, and so on. 


I told MacGyver that she would have been really cool to hang out with. And he looked at me like I had lost my mind. He asked me why I couldn't hang out with her and then it was my turn to look at HIM like HE had lost his mind. 



I can't take on new friends right now. We are LEAVING. And in my mind, leaving = goodbyes = pain. I wonder if he was really paying attention when we left Hawaii. I was a basket case for week (ok, months...ok, a year) after we left Hawaii. Saying goodbye to people who had become family was brutal and even the idea of having to do that again on any level has me hyperventilating into a paper bag in the bathroom. So no, I can't take on any new friends right now. And I'm not alone in this - many of my milspouse friends will tell you the same thing - the goodbyes are brutal and they wear on you. When I was younger and we were getting ready to PCS, the excitement of a new town, a new duty station, the trip itself...all of those things outweighed the sadness of leaving the friends we had made. And there was always the possibility that, thanks to the small-world nature of the military, we'd win up stationed with them again. But I know that is unlikely now. 


The ridiculous thing(s) is that I have no idea when we're leaving. Could be in 30 days. Could be in 12 months. Could be never. Our future is so murky right now that I have less of a clue now than I thought I did 6 months ago. And I'm sure that God is sitting up there thinking, "Heh. She thinks she's leaving this land-locked state. Watch this...I'll park her there another year or so while MacGyver works on his professional pilot's license. She'll lose her mind." When I explained my reasons to MacGyver, he just shook his head and told me I needed help. 


I'm sure I do. He's just not qualified to offer the kind of help I need. I'm sure a professional shrink would have a field day with me. 




Pau.




- hfs

2.12.2013

I no longer have to share my husband

It has long been said that the military is the 'other woman' in a marriage - her needs come first. 


God. 
Country. 
Family. 
In that order. 


And for fourteen years (and six months!) that has been the case. It was an arrangement that MacGyver and I made willingly. I may have been naive when he first enlisted right out of college but I wasn't nearly as naive when he chose to go to flight school all those years ago. It was after 9/11 and I knew what I was agreeing to when he submitted his flight school packet with my support. And it has been - for the most part - a wonderful 14 years (and six months!). Yes, there have been some low points. However, he and I have been blessed by his time in the Army and we are both quite sad to see it end. But there is most definitely a silver lining. 


I get to say goodbye to the 'other woman' in his life. (*please note: those of you who like to misread things and get your panties in a wad over what you think I said...I am not saying my husband is seeing another woman. It's an ANALOGY. The ARMY is the 'other woman'. Sheesh.) No more will the words 'needs of the Army' come into play when making vacation plans or decisions about where to live. No more will we have to plan our family time around NTC and JRTC rotations or training exercises or staff duty. No more will I have to fight with airlines to get money back for a plane ticket that cannot be used because someone up the chain of command decided that random over-water training was necessary for a Global Reaction Force rotation, even though it's not required by any reg anywhere in the entire DoD. No more will there be phone calls at 0600 for 'accountability checks' while on leave. 


Oh, wait...there won't be anymore 'leave'. I'll have to re-learn the word 'vacation'. Novel concept. 


And a bit scary too. Fourteen years (and six months!) is a long time to be with one employer. Especially when that employer is the United States Army with its own vocabulary and all-encompassing culture. I read an article the other day and there was a quote that made me nod my head in agreement: "But the thing that scares me the most after fifteen years in the [military]?"

"Civilian life."



The transition is scary. For fourteen years (and six months!), the military has taken care of basically everything: housing, transportation, health care, legalities...everything. And now, well, basically we have to grow up. In a sense, we've not really had to 'grow up' while in the military - they took care of everything. Yes, there were some tough decisions to be made but ultimately, Big Army made the final decision and we just dealt with the fallout. Now, the decisions are our own. Where to live? Which health insurance policy to purchase? How much life insurance to buy? Which job offer to accept? Which neighborhood to live in? What grocery store to shop at? What soccer league to join?


I'm sure it will be less scary once MacGyver actually has a civilian job. But we're not there yet. We're toeing the edge of a big giant precipice and we're not sure what's on the other side. The current economic circumstances in this country - specifically in the military support side of the economy where the bulk of the job possibilities exist for MacGyver right now - are less than stellar. And that murkiness lends itself to an unknown that breeds fear. 



But that fear is overshadowed by the joy at giving 'the other woman' the boot - don't let that door hit you on the way out. I get my husband back, truly, freely, and completely (minus whatever the VA decides is his disability rating)!





Pau.




- hfs

2.02.2013

January Challenge - final update

At my last update (10JAN), I was sitting around $124 for my balance on my food spending for the month. Not too bad, given that that shopping trip actually lasted us about 2 weeks. I made one more trip to the store on 24JAN and spent $99.01 after taxes.


So my grand total for the month of January was $223.01.


Pretty close to the $200 goal I had set for myself for the month. And we've used up a lot of the stuff I had lingering in the pantry and in the freezer. We ended the month with 900+ fuel points so MacGyver and I will tag team the gas station one day this month and pump 35 gallons at a 90 cent discount, saving $31.50 on our gas bill. WOOHOO!



Today was my first shopping trip of the month and, in terms of coupons, I really wasn't prepared. I need to be more diligent about tracking down newspaper coupons - whether it's by ordering them from a clipping site or buying the Sunday paper here locally. I do pretty well printing coupons from the internet and matching them up with the store sales but I suspect I would do even better if I would be more aggressive in going after the coupons from the Sunday paper. That being said, our shopping has started to veer away from the processed foods (for which you can find copious amounts of coupons) and more toward whole foods and unprocessed foods. Unfortunately, coupons for those items are more difficult to come by. 


Because I had been sticking to a relatively bare bones budget last month, it was almost a relief to be able to shop 'normally' this time around. That being said, I still managed to keep this trip under our regular bi-monthly budget limit. My shopping trip was further burdened by several special events this pay period: a birthday party tonight (finger foods), a SuperBowl gathering tomorrow (pico de gallo, buffalo chicken dip, dessert), and breakfast Sunday at church (either pumpkin bread or baked French toast). Toward the end of the month, we'll have The Boy's birthday party too, which will also add to our food spending but I have a little money socked away for his party so that should lessen the impact. His party will take place between lunch and dinner so the menu will be light. He's planning a Minecraft-themed party so that helps as well: apples, cake, Rice Krispie Treats and Brownies cut into block shapes, Orange Fanta, and watermelon if I can find it and if it's not ridiculously expensive. 


This week, I spent:

- produce $50.46 (I splurged on vine-ripened tomatoes for my pico, raspberries and blueberries for our breakfasts, colored bell peppers because they were on sale, and loaded up on fruits for the kids, and potatoes because they make inexpensive meals)


- soups/chili $30.40 (LOTS of sales and I had coupons to match. When it's cold, we love soups for lunches and dinners and MacGyver takes them with him to work because they are easy to do up and keep him from going out for lunch)

- the rest was dairy, a few processed/prepared items, some pantry staples, fish, bacon, and kielbasa. I still have a few things I need to grab at the commissary the next time I'm on post because I can't justify the prices at the local store (i.e. popcorn. It's about $1.25/box at the commi and $3.79 for the same box at the local store. Commi wins.) 


All in all, I spent $235.15 before coupons and in-store discounts. My club card saved me $39.64. I had $8.50 in coupons and, because my store doubles, I saved an additional $2.90. My final bill was $184.11. I also racked up enough fuel points on this shopping trip to save 80 cents per gallon of gas (the max is $1.00/gallon so we'll knock off $35.00 from our fuel bill this month) between the money I spent on food and the gift cards I purchased. My coupon savings came out to be about 22% which isn't too shabby. 


Not too shabby. 




Pau.




- hfs