The Pros of Deployment?

A submarine deployment isn’t usually fun. Sure, there are ups and downs, for the crew and the families, but I’m not sure it could ever be called fun overall. But why focus on the downs? I’ve been trying to come up with a few of the silly positive things I’ll get to enjoy when my husband deploys.

Please note, I mean these to be mostly nonsensical and upbeat. By no means do I ever want my husband away from me for that long. But I have to find the silver lining somehow. Focusing on how lonely I’ll be doesn’t do any good.

1.) I’ll get the whole bed to sleep on. Much as I love a good cuddle, I tend to toss and turn in my sleep. This creates a nice cozy spot of blankets, a burrito of blankets if you will, for me to sleep in, which means I require all the blankets and pillows and room on the bed for myself. At the very least, I’ll get to spread out and not worry about disturbing my Sir.

2.) The shower head will always remain in place. This is a small matter. I don’t usually even complain about it. But it occurred to me this morning, that I’ll be able to get in every morning and not need to move the shower into the correct spot.

3.) Fewer loads of laundry. Somehow, the laundry never ever ends. I never seem to catch up. Perhaps while he’s away I will be able to? Eh. Probably not though. But a girl can dream, right?

4.) I can eat peas again! My Sir hates peas. He’ll only grumble a little bit if I add them to a stew where they can be sort of hidden behind chicken or beef, but I have stayed away from making a side dish of peas. And grits. All the foods I make will be the ones I like. Yummy peas!!

5.) I’m having difficulty coming up with a fifth item. I guess it’s hard to come up with silly silver linings. I know I’m very intimidated by this deployment. Everything will fall to me: raising our daughter, cooking, cleaning, decisions, routines, emergencies, all of it. I have been building up my support system though. I knew this was coming so I have been trying to make new friends and join new activities so that we’d already have a built in village.

Still, the burrito covers are nice!

30 Thoughts I Have While Grocery Shopping at the Commissary

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  1. Hmm. Let’s see if I can find a good parking spot. Why isn’t my husband an O-6?????

2. Will they know my husband isn’t an O-6 if I park here anyway?
3. Do you get a special parking sticker when you make O-6?
4. How can I park closest to the entrance, exit, and cart return stall?
5. Where is my ID?
6. Did I remember the reusable grocery bags?
7. Does the ID card check lady notice the anxiety I feel when I can’t get to my ID quickly enough and panic that it’s stuck forever in my wallet?
8. Is the guy behind me wondering why I’m sweating so much just from trying to get my baby into a grocery cart seat? (Because she always locks her knees and refuses to sit in the damn seat and it’s hot in Hawaii!)
9. Which veggies will go bad slowest in my fridge?
10. Will my husband be home tonight for dinner or will I just have couscous by myself?
11. I should offer to shake the hand of the Vietnam Vet passing me. But my baby just sneezed her formula all over me and he’s down the other aisle by the time I find the wipes in my bag.
12. Oooh! They have the coffee creamer my husband loves. Better get three or four of them!
13. My baby is crying—employ distraction tactics and shop faster!
14. Why don’t they make the labels easier for mommies of crying babies to read? Better throw everything in the cart, sodium levels be damned
15. Do I want deli sushi for lunch or the kalua pork? Screw it! Sushi because I could eat that with my fingers as I drive home with my crying baby!
16. Let’s get in the long candy cookie aisle lane to find a checkout line to join.
17. Oh wait, that guy behind me is in uniform, he should skip ahead of us.
18. I wonder if I could call my Sir to see if he can get me out of here faster.
19. Probably not. He’s got an important job. But it’s a nice dream.
20. An important job that hasn’t made him an O-6 yet. Stupid labeled parking spots…
21. Is it wrong of me to covet those labeled spots so much?
22. Oh crap! Do I have cash for a tip for the baggers?!
23. Whew! I do have cash!
24. They’re smiling at my baby, thank goodness!
25. Oh no! She pooped! I wonder if the bagger would mind if I asked her to wait on loading the grocery bags in my trunk so I can change the poppy diaper first?
26. Am I being judged for changing her in the trunk? I put a towel down!
27. Screw any judgments! I’m doin what my daughter needs!
28. #SuperMom
29. Omg I need a nap now. Grocery shopping is so stressful!
30. Crap! I forgot half the things on my list! Will they notice tomorrow that I was here today???

 

Photo Credit: Shopping With Baby, used via Creative Commons License Flickr

Please Don’t Say This to Your MilSpouse Friends.

“Well you knew what you were getting yourself into when you married him.”

Do you know how much I hate it when people say that to me?

I HATE IT A LOT!!!

I’ll set the scene for you. Ahem.

I’m having a bad day. Maybe the submarine has interfered with my plans one too many times. Maybe I’m tired of not having any parental support from my husband because he is unable to come home. Maybe I’m just not my rosy patriotic best, OK? I am an adult and I know that in the grand scheme of things, my bad mood will go away soon and I’ll start afresh tomorrow. But for now, maybe I just go to one of my friends to vent and complain, and believe it or not, I try not to sound whiney. This friend, usually a person from my non-military life, says to me, “Well you knew what you were getting yourself into when you married him.”

Yes. Many of us knew what sort of journey this life would bring us. But knowing that we’re signing up for difficulties and living through them on the day-to-day, hour-to-hour, deployment-to-PCS-to-another-deployment is on a whole different level. Most of the spouses I’ve met are very VERY proud and patriotic people. But we all have bad days and weeks. Maybe my non-military friends just don’t know HOW difficult we have it.

I was a military kid and I knew the lyrics to the Marine Corps Hymn when I was eight years old. I grew up around all the pomp and ceremony that comes with parades and command events, and I attended elementary schools in five states I think. I was so used to telling my friends that I had to move before the next school year, that once we stayed in the Northern VA area for so long, my friends stopped believing me when I told them I was moving. (My dad’s orders kept getting changed. Imagine!) Then I decided I wanted to marry my beloved sweetheart, a submariner in the Navy and my dad wanted to have a chat with me. He didn’t care that I went from being a Marine Corps kid to a Navy wife, but he did want to make sure that I understood that this life would be unlike anything I had every experienced before. He specifically wanted me to know and understand that there would be secret things that my Sir could never share with me. And that SubSpouse life means a lot of loneliness.

And I love the life I live. But it is not easy. To illustrate, my Sir has hardly seen our daughter in weeks. And I’m not the only spouse who has to repair the car problems and fix the clogged sink disposer and handle all of the chores and errands and soothe the nightmares and wonder if the runny nose is just a runny nose (or is it the FLU!?!?!?!?! NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!) all by myself. So yes, sometimes, we have days that overwhelm us and fatigue that sinks into our bones.

Because I’m an adult, I know that this friend probably doesn’t know how hurtful their words were to me. They weren’t trying to be unkind, but they probably measured my problems by their own and compared them and thought that I should “stop whining” and handle it. And for the record, I know how truly blessed I am. Let’s go back to that.

I married my best friend. He is the most brilliant man I know and I am still baffled, years into our marriage, that he picked me. And I’m typing this while my daughter sits on my lap and she’s so beautiful it hurts. And the job my husband carries out allows me to stay home to raise her.

However fortunate I am though, I also have my down times.

For instance, last week, my husband only came home twice. Why? Because he was working so late that the thirty minute drive home was too much to consider when he can sleep in his rack on board instead and get a tiny bit more sleep. He hasn’t really seen his daughter in ages, because she goes to sleep so early. We’ve tried to keep her awake later in the evening, but she just sort of passes out. Did I think that having a baby with my husband would mean being a single parent for me for the most part? No.

So while I understand that people are starving in the world, or suffering from terrible racial injustice, or declaring bankruptcy and living on the street, am I still not allowed to have a bad day where I can just vent to a friend for a little? Because it’s a bad day, not a bad life. I’m just struggling with emotions and need a friend. So if your MilSpouse friend comes to you and just needs to vent some feelings so that the negative emotions can feel less overwhelming, please don’t remind them that they signed up for this. Listen to them. Offer them your support. Because they will support you in your turn. Because our troubles are less troubling when we have a friend with whom to share them. Because the MilSpouse, and especially in my experience, the SubSpouse, is a fearless wonder woman (or man!) and can achieve ALL the things, but even we need friends to help us through this journey. This journey that we chose, but we did NOT choose to embark alone!

To Prepare

Adventure

My husband’s boat is in preparation for deployment. A long one. For a submarine, that will mean several long months. I know many families of other branches may think sub deployments are short, but keep in mind that most of that time, our sailors are in a steel tube with no windows and no access to the “outside world.” I emphasize outside world that way because I’ve heard tell of sailors on big ships getting Facebook and Skype access or even *gasp* being able to see where they are in the ocean.

This will be my first deployment as a Navy submarine spouse. My dad was deployed with the Marine Corps when I was a teenager, and while I missed him, life at home never changed that much for me. I feel it is a much bigger deal for me to be handling this as an adult and wife and mom. My daughter is 9 months old (ish) right now and will be a year (or more or less-ish) when they depart and it will be my job to hold everything together at home until my Sir returns. The thing is though, I don’t know if I will ever feel ready and confident and capable.

When I married my Sir, I knew deployments were going to happen to us. So I talked to other spouses and soaked in the stories and experiences they related. I felt like if I learned from them, maybe when my time came to handle it, I’d have something in my corner to draw from. And it isn’t like my hubs hasn’t been underway for a time. The most he’s been gone from me though is about 2 months. So. What am I doing to make sure I’m prepared?

I’m in the middle of making “Open When…” cards for him to take with him. If you haven’t heard of them, they’re cards that your Sir can open on certain days. They can be holidays (‘Open on Father’s Day,’ ‘Open on Christmas’)  or other serious or nonsensical days (‘Open when you miss me,’ ‘Open when you are on your way home,’ ‘Open when you’re in the mood for sushi.’) And I’m making plans for what I’ll send in his halfway box. A halfway box is something the sailors get to open on their Halfway Night (a night they celebrate as being roughly the midway point through their deployment.) Because it is a submarine, you can’t just mail things to them. So we make them before they leave, and they store them on board until the time comes to open them.

We are also making plans for what I’ll need to take care of everything while he’s gone. This means Power of Attorney documents (for everything under the sun apparently) and wills. We’ve named a guardian for our daughter just in case something happens to me while he’s gone and made sure my name is on all the big financial things. Every family does things differently but I will be the only one making decisions for every eventuality while he’s gone, so it makes sense for us to have my contact info and name on all the things.

But I’m also trying to make plans to keep busy while the weeks and months go by. I joined a recreation center with a gym and pool and I plan to teach my daughter to swim. I joined a MOMS Club in my area so I can make new friends and stay busy with them. I also joined a direct sales business, Jamberry, so I can stay busy but make a little extra money. My sister-in-law moved off island (and I’m sad!) but my sister will move here soon and is due to have her baby in a few months, so I’ll have family nearby. My daughter is getting old enough that soon we can have playground days and outings to the zoo and aquarium too. I’m determined to make it through.

Sooner or later, most military spouses will be faced with the daunting prospect of their husband deploying. Most of us knew that before we married our partners. And that’s why it is so daunting. These are our partners. For the length of the deployment, we have to go on without their help, guidance, love, and support. For submarine spouses, we have to go without communication for most of that time too. I am intimidated by that. I admit it. I look around and feel like all the other wives I meet are handling things better than I am.

Maybe that’s just it though. We’re all looking around at each other and smiling on the outside but crumbling on the inside. I’m probably not the only one on this boat feeling this way, and we still have some time before they actually leave. When my daughter cries, I have to be strong for her, so I wipe away the tears and go on about my day. Because I’m all she has. Because maybe if I pretend I’m OK, my day will get better. Because she makes me happy when she smiles.

I’ll be honest. I’m counting down the days until this tour is over for us. Maybe I won’t ever feel ready and confident and capable. But I’ll go on just the same.

The Bad Day Conundrum

I have bad days sometimes. Don’t we all? It isn’t that I dislike my life. I am aware of and grateful that I’ve been blessed many times over. I have a wonderful husband who was made for me. My daughter is the most beautiful little girl ever. I have loved ones and good friends. I live in a place most would describe as “paradise” and moreover, I live in a free country and I enjoy a reasonably high level of privilege. Yes, I have a lot to smile at in my life. So because of this, am I not allowed to tell you that I have bad days?

Let me set the scene. I recently met a woman at my church. Like most there, she was quite friendly. At the moment that I met her, I was telling others that I will be looking for a new church to attend, only because I really need a church that has a nursery. My daughter needs to crawl around and explore and play. She is 8 months old. You can’t tell a child that old that she needs to sit still and listen to the songs and lessons and sermons and prayers. I love the church we’ve been attending, but with my beloved Sir being gone so frequently, I really need a nursery for church. I have recently been feeling a sense of exhaustion, just to make it through an hour long service with my adventurous daughter. (“Whew! We made it!”)

So this new acquaintance I made today listened to me nicely and then gave me the phrase I hate most of all.

“Is she your only child?”

“Yes, she’s my only one.”

“Oh. Well talk to me after you have multiple.”

Ok so let’s break this down. She doesn’t want me to speak of my experience until I can match her own struggles. Why? Because she raised several children by herself at once? Because my words don’t even register to her as a struggle because she had it worse than I do? Because I am merely the mother of one child, so I must not know hardship.

I don’t put down the chaos and struggles other moms have. I know myself and I know I would lose what sanity I have left if I was the mother of multiple kids. I see other moms, some of twins and some of kids of different ages, and I just watch in awe because I just know they have crazier harder days than I do. But why does that mean they should brush aside any struggles I may have?

Why am I so upset? Because I wasn’t complaining. I wasn’t venting. I wasn’t whining or crying. I simply said I need some new situation because I know what’s best for my family. So why do so many women feel the need to compete with each other for who is suffering most? If I’m not having as bad a day as you, why are my words so awful to you? Why could she not just listen to me and then tell me how she made it through the rough days?

A woman close to me is this way and it still hurts me so deeply. I had a rough time after my daughter was born. I struggled mentally and emotionally. But this woman told me that she had it so much worse than I did and proceeded to list all the reasons why. I felt like she was essentially competing with me for who had it worse and I felt like she brushed my struggles away because in her eyes, I shouldn’t be struggling. I feel like my experiences were invalidated and that she was trying to “one up” me.

What if we supported each other instead? We all experience life differently. What might be a minor thing one day could be the straw that breaks you on another day. What might be a rain drop for me might be a tsunami wave for another person. In general, I may feel capable of handling the things this Navy life throws at me, but I am allowed to have bad days. And so are you. It’s a bad day, not a bad life.

So if you tell me, in so many words or by gist, that my struggles aren’t worth your notice because you or others have it worse, I will no longer come to you with any conversation deeper than the weather. But oh gosh, it’s raining here, but there’s a hurricane elsewhere so we shouldn’t talk about that either, right?

It’s possible for both to have bad days.

This is Not a Drill

Today was a terrifying day in Hawaii. If you haven’t heard, an alert was issued across the state that a nuclear missile was launched and we were told to take shelter. I will cut to the end of the story and say that it was issued in error and that everyone is fine, if a little emotionally shaken.

Today, by 8 o’clock I had been awake for a couple of hours because my baby wakes up before dawn to start her day. I had just put her down for her first of the day’s naps when I finally saw the emergency alert on my phone. It had been issued several minutes before I read it but I went into fight mode. A million thoughts raced through my head in a few minutes. I had to find the local news on TV, I thought frantically. My husband was at work and I know it would have taken too long to try to reach him. I couldn’t find my local news so I grabbed my emergency crank radio (the only one we have that isn’t in my car) but I couldn’t get it to work because I was in too much of a rush. I went upstairs and grabbed a bag and started shoving diapers and the stupid radio in it as I went to wake up my baby. But where would we go? How does one hide from a nuclear missile when one gets only a few minutes warning? I believe Indiana Jones hid in an old refrigerator but that wouldn’t work. (Pretty sure they tested that on Mythbusters.) So which room in my house would I hide in? The only rooms without windows are a tiny downstairs half bathroom and a walk in closet (which you have to walk through a full bathroom with two windows to get to.) How safe would we be? Not safe at all.

My thoughts turned to my baby and my cat. I vaguely thought we’d drive to the closest base to us, one which technically I wouldn’t be allowed on. Would they let us on in an emergency? Would we have time to drive thither? I had the choice to grab my baby or my cat and my heart broke as I chose my baby. My cat delights in hiding during the day when my baby is a little noisy. And I knew I only had moments to get my baby girl in her car seat, grab the diaper bag and anything else I could grab as I ran out the door and into the car.

Anyways, in the midst of my vague plans and panicked thoughts, it came out that the alert had been falsely issued and I could do nothing else but sink to the floor crying. Before I knew it was erroneous, all of my energy went to trying to do “the right thing,” whatever that could be. But as soon as I knew it was all safe, that energy turned into tears. My Sir even called from work to tell me he loved me and see if I was OK. He saw the information and came out to call.

In the aftermath of the island’s terrified panic, we all seemed to be talking about it on social media. Many are outraged that it took nearly 40 minutes for the state to issue the information to our phones that there was no threat. It was real for us for a few minutes and now we need to come down from our adrenaline and fear. I have no idea if the sirens in my town went off but if they did, I did not hear them. That can’t be a good sign. I wasn’t being loud–I was only singing a lullaby to my baby to get her to sleep, so if they went off there should be no reason why I couldn’t hear them.

I’ve thought about this all day. I was woefully unprepared and I know that I and many of my friends will be making better plans. But what if it had been a real threat? At one point all I could think was that nowhere on this tiny island can truly provide sufficient shelter from an ICBM so I should go in and wake my napping baby and hold her and if we died, at least we’d die together. How’s that for a sobering thought? I called a friend and asked her to come to hang out because I needed someone. It turned out to be the best medicine. We both got to vent and discuss our experiences and frustrations and then we got good distraction for a few hours from thinking about our inevitable doom. My baby provided lots of cuteness and smiles.

But really. What would you do if you got the warning on your phone that a missile was inbound and you knew you had only minutes to “prepare?” I will discuss plans in case this happens again with my Sir. But mostly I will give my family and friends extra hugs.

A Look Back

It’s a brand new year and it’s no surprise that most people seem to be taking a hard look at the past so that changes can be made for the future. Your two mermaids here are no exception. It has been a long 2017 and we looked even farther into the past, to ourselves before we were Navy submarine spouses. We feel like we were totally different people back then, even though it’s been a different length of time for the two of us. We grow as we face different challenges and the Navy has certainly given us things to contend with. So here we have our first co-written post. We thought we’d look back and give our younger, newly married, selves some advice on being involved with this Navy life we chose.

Amy, the older and wiser of the two of us says:

I don’t really know where to start, 2017 has been the HARDEST year so far and I’m hoping things calm down a bit in 2018. I’d like to spend more than a few months a year with my sailor, but so far, its not looking good. As for advice I would give my younger self if I could time travel, I would have A LOT to say.

Recently I’ve had an eye-opening experience and in dealing with this, I’ll share the following with you. But I need to start at the beginning.

One of my cousins has talked about joining the military for quite some time. He worked for a number of years in the Las Vegas Police Department and has since moved on and now lives in Florida. He finally decided to take the leap and join the Navy. He also got married this past summer and I have not met his wife yet, but I’ve spoken to her a few times. Now, I certainly do not know her and I’m sure she is a wonderful woman; I have been told that she’s pretty amazing, and if my cousin chose her to spend the rest of his life with, she must certainly be pretty special. But what I’m getting at here is, maybe its because I’m a “seasoned” spouse and have dealt with the good, bad, and downright ugly, but the past few days have opened my eyes. My cousin’s wife has not been handling his absence very well. He was gone for only a day when she spiraled into a full on anxiety attack because she hadn’t heard from him. (Insert eye roll here) Now, you may be thinking that I’m being rude, or that I’m not sensitive enough to relate to her. But the reality is that I relate so much to her and that I can have no sympathy for the way she’s acting. I have been in her shoes. The first time my husband left for a deployment after we started dating I had a full on meltdown and couldn’t go to work because I couldn’t stop crying. And what would I say to my former self?  “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it!!” I’d slap myself in the face and and scream “PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER”, you know, like they do in the old black and white movies. This was nearly 10 years ago, and since then we’ve been through 4 deployments, 4 moves, 1 amazing baby girl, and the hell that is the USS Columbus. Looking back, after all the crap we’ve been through, I would just look at my younger self and shake my head. My cousin’s wife has already started the “I hate the Navy”, and “I don’t have time for catty women” and “I don’t like military wives” crap. Hey, I get it, I’ve been there. For the first 7 years of my Navy experience I met some horrible people, and because of them, I was never involved in any FRGs (Family Readiness Groups) or command events because I didn’t think I needed any more friends, and Navy Spouses, well, all military spouses, already have the terrible reputation so why would I want to involve myself in that? The truth is, you can avoid all that for as long as you want, its like sitting in a rocking chair, you can do it all day but its never going to get you anywhere. You will meet people that are just downright horrible human beings, but you will also meet the most amazing people and some will become lifelong friends. You cannot simply just push aside everything involving the military, especially if your spouse is deployed. I’ve learned that there is so much support out there. So many resources. SO MUCH HELP. If you sit on the floor and throw a temper tantrum because you haven’t talked to your husband in a day, well then hunny, you’re going to have one hell of a time with this lifestyle.

Like I said before, from 2007 until 2014, I only had a few friends within the navy community. I was never involved in an FRG, I never went to command events, besides Sub Ball, because, well, who doesn’t love to get all glammed up and have a fancy date night?!!! I worked A LOT. I had work friends, I was working overtime, as much as I could, because I wanted to stay busy so the time would pass quicker. It worked for me, until we were moved from Connecticut to California. And then I felt completely alone. Yes, I still had a few friends who were in the same area. The submarine community is pretty small so its likely that you will always know some people at every duty station you’re assigned to. But after we had our first child, I developed a terrible case of postpartum depression and realized that I needed to to reach out to the resources that were available to me. And let me tell you, they helped. A LOT. I am so thankful for all the support that the military has to offer the families of the sailors, soldiers and what have you. There are such WONDERFUL resources out there, probably some i don’t even know about but I wish I had accessed them sooner.

While living in Hawaii I became a board member of our FRG, and boy did I learn a lot. We had a wonderful group of ladies, and of course some not so wonderful ones, but that’s the good part, you don’t HAVE to be friends with everyone, but you can be friendly and get along with them. I have taken the COMPASS class, which I encourage anyone and everyone to take. It’s free and its different in every duty station since you can learn about the local cultures and things to do. It also teaches you nearly everything you need to or want to know about being a military spouse, navy specific.

Let’s also not forget how much I love my husband and I support him 100%. He absolutely LOVES his job and he loves what he’s doing for our country. That makes me so very proud. I cannot say enough how proud of him I am. As hard as it may be to be a spouse to an active duty submariner, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I may get sad and depressed but I will NEVER let that get in the way of my husband’s career. I have seen way too many sailors who have to cut their tours short, or drop out entirely because their wives can’t handle it. I am proud of my sailor and I will stand by him no matter what. After all, that’s what we said in our marriage vows, “In good times, and bad, for richer or poor, in sickness and health, until death do us part.”

So, to summarize, if I was face to face with my ten year younger self, I’d say, GET OUT THERE! Reach out, take advantage of everything the Navy has to offer its spouses and their families. Pull your big girl panties on and HANDLE IT HUNNY. You can do this, you WILL do this. Go out there and KICK ASS!  While you can still have your guard up and be choosy about who you allow into your inner circle, put yourself out there. Trust me, you’ll be much happier when you do.

Lauren, only having been married three years says:

What would I say to myself before I married my submariner? Well, that’s hard to think about. I certainly don’t have any regrets and I don’t think I’d do anything differently. Or rather, I wouldn’t do anything big in a different way. Everyone has tiny regrets that don’t really have a big impact (“I wish I kept that umbrella in my car.” “I should have been better organized about sending those thank you notes.”) but those aren’t interesting things to give myself advice about. Instead, I would give myself the advice that I’ve already told myself a million times in the last three years.

Learn to disregard plans. I know I have to plan most things out but the Navy does things differently and they’ll be the biggest cause of upsets to your best laid plans. OR learn to have backup plans for many things, just in case. Learning to let go a little more of the set plan will be such a big benefit in this life. Try making loose plans that can be changed at the last minute. Try to see lots of possibilities for the event (or whatever it is) and think about how you’ll react if that happens. Just breathe and know that he’s your best friend, he isn’t doing it on purpose, and it’ll all be OK in the end. And maybe grab a glass of wine.

Also, learn to trust yourself. You’ll spend a good amount of time managing things by yourself so it makes sense to learn to confidently handle lots of things independently. Your sailor may be at work for an 18 hour day or he may be underwater for months at a time. Whatever he’s doing for the Navy will mean he can’t always be there to take care of the car or lawn or kids or the taxes. Find the resources you need in your area and get things done because someone’s gotta and it may have to be you. Most of the time. To use the Nike catchphrase, “Just do it.”

And, enjoy your duty station. Make the choice to enjoy it because you’ll likely move away soon enough. It’s OK to not like every single thing about the places you live and it’s OK to have bad days now and again but it doesn’t make sense to let it all make you miserable. Hawaii is not your personal idea of paradise but it doesn’t mean you have to be grumpy and grouchy all the time. Decide to be happy and that’ll help when you’re alone on island when your Sir is underway.

Here’s to a wonderful 2018!