Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Feminism and the Homemaker

This morning, I opened up my blog feeds to discover this awesome post on A Practical Wedding, and I completely identified with it. As someone who currently selects the "homemaker" box when asked about employment simply because I cannot identify with the term "unemployed" ...well, just read the blog post.

My husband has called me a feminist before, and it's always with a bit of an eye roll. And before I married him and left my job to move across the Atlantic Ocean to live with him, I never would have though of myself as a feminist - I was just a career-oriented young person. Which probably made me a feminist simply because of my gender, but I really never gave it a thought. It's funny how it took coming home full-time to really make me identify with the term.

This morning, I shampooed part of the carpet, baked a batch of mini quiche for our Officers' Spouses Club (am I seriously a member of this?), and I'm about to head out the door to meet up with my knitting group. And aside from dealing with the carpet, I actually enjoy most of this. Granted, I think I'd rather be working on my PhD, but this is actually an enjoyable situation.

And now, for another 4-month break from this blog. Thanks for checking in!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Chronicle of The Move, Part I

We've been without internet for a few weeks, thanks to complications with the move. Sometimes, it just takes a few days (or more) to get everything installed in a new home.

We are (semi-officially) moved in!

Granted, we are still unpacking boxes, but they are more than half way finished, and we have all of our utilities set up! Most importantly, the KITCHEN is unpacked - which means we can actually cook here! Yes, I'd call that moved in.

I now feel that I have the time to go through our crazy moving adventure, which began a month and a half ago. Without further ado, here it is.

Personal Photo
Part I: The Road Trip.

We started in North Carolina, prepared for our 10+ day adventure to California with a caravan of my car, the Jeep hauling a camper, and the pets! 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Brought to you from a brand new location!

Far too much has happened over the past few months! So much, that updating this blog was not a priority in my life.

As is customary for us military families, we've moved! I'm not new to the PCS rodeo, but this was my first time moving as a spouse, and I have to say, it has been wildly different than any other military move I've experienced. More difficult? In some ways, no, in others, definitely.

Moving as a spouse was LESS difficult because:

  • I didn't have to outprocess OR inprocess! That was my husband's job. No trekking around base with a checklist, only to discover every office has TERRIBLE hours. 
  • I had someone to keep me company during the move! Thanks, husband.
Moving as a spouse was MORE difficult because:
  • I had zero control over any of the process. This drove me nuts. I hate it when I'm made to feel as if I cannot take care of myself, and there was a lot of that. When we got here, we tried to split up some of the transitioning tasks. Every time I made a phone call, I found myself asking if it was okay if it was ME coming in, and not the actual active duty service member. Because it sure is an inconvenience when you're told you CAN'T actually accomplish what you set out to do!
  • Tricare was a pain in the rear end. Oh wait, that's not just because of moving, it's because of always.
  • I had someone to drive me crazy during the move! Sorry, husband.
There were many things that were comparable within this move. For one, I found that finding a house here has been similar to house hunting in Germany, of all places. (For reference, I consider my Germany move as my #1 most difficult move to date.) But that is a story for another day.

Another day that will come SOON, I promise! I have a lot more adventures to cover!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Baby Showers!

Personal Photo
I attended a baby shower this past Saturday for a friend that I've known since basic training and my first year of college. As chance would have it, we both separated from the Air Force within two months of each other, for many of the same reasons, and now live within two hours of each other.

I have to admit, a baby shower would never have been my first choice as a Saturday event*. But it turned out to be pretty great. She has an amazing support network of women in her husband's unit that put together an amazing shower. It was beautiful. But they're not only creative wives, they were all-around great people. I was very happy to share my Saturday afternoon with them.

About 1/3 of the women there were pregnant. It got me thinking.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Job Search

I will not let the word "unemployed" define me.

Likewise, I shouldn't let any other job titles define me. But it's something that we, as human beings, have a very strong tendency to do. Our minds like to categorize everything - it makes the world we live in easier to understand.

But I'm not planning on talking about psychology today. I'm planning on talking about my personal quest for meaningful work. Right now, that comes in the very simple form of finding a job that pays enough to get me out of the house. I do believe that being a "homemaker" can be very important and meaningful, but at this point in my life (sans-children) I am pretty certain it's not for me.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Jump Start


When I was in the Air Force, I made it a point to start my week off right. Every Monday, almost without fail, I would begin the day by rising early to work out. I found that if I made it a point to get myself moving early on Monday, then I'd be more likely to stick with my workouts during the rest of the week. I might not wake up before dawn on any other days, but I'd certainly get all of my exercise goals accomplished.

If I failed to wake up on Monday, I'd usually find myself sluggish the entire week. I'd miss subsequent workouts, and I'd probably forget about healthy eating. Why? It seems that I'm programmed to function better throughout the week if I've managed to jump start Day 1 with a positive accomplishment.

Since I've left the military, I've lost this routine. I know I'm feeling the effects. I can think of half a dozen excuses, but none of them are good. I don't have to take an official fitness test anymore, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't test myself. Unfortunately, I've let fitness fall to the bottom of my priority list.

Over the past few weeks, I've been slowly playing with my routine, trying to incorporate more exercise. I've been fairly successful, but something was still missing in the motivation department. Over the weekend, I had an epiphany. Why not do what worked before? 

Here's the plan: Start with Monday. Starting with today, I've made a few basic measurements to determine where I am, fitness-wise. Check them out (after the jump).

Thursday, February 21, 2013

On getting back into...everything.

The first time I heard the term "dependapotamus" was about a month prior to leaving the military. You would think I'd have heard it a lot sooner, but I didn't. I remember being simultaneously amused and disgusted by the term. I knew the kind of people that the term describes: the overweight woman waddling through the BX, who has barely come out of hibernation from on-base housing to make a quick trip out for essentials. I swore right then I'd never become that.

In fact, the first time I heard the term, the context was, "Don't become a dependapotamus."

I'm doing my absolute best to avoid it. Sure, I took a bit of a break from working out upon my separation. That's normal, and it's hard to stay motivated when suddenly, you don't have a fitness test looming over you. But I'm happy to say that I'm getting back into it.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Krispy Kremes: Apparently they make me grouchy.

With today's post, I have reduced the amount of time between writing by over five months! Last time, it took me 171 days between posts, and this time, it only took me nine days! That is 1900% improvement. Just sayin'.

Now that I'm essentially a homemaker (I hate that term, but there are worse ways of describing it), I find myself feeling obligated to do whatever my husband wants to do. Take this weekend, for instance. A few weeks ago, he decided he wanted to run the Krispy Kreme Challenge. This is an event which I feel is fundamentally disgusting. Although kudos does go to the event for raising $177K for charity, I still can't stand the idea of downing a dozen doughnuts in the middle of a 5-mile run. Actually, right now I don't like the idea of doing either of those things!

Racers gathered at Start/Finish line (Personal Photo)
It could have been a lot of fun. But I was a grouch, because I didn't want to be there. There were lots of people in fun costumes! It was also early in the morning and the temperature was pretty close to freezing. 

The worst thing is, I really didn't have to go. I could have said that I didn't want to wake up before 5:00 a.m. to drive up to Raleigh. But I said that I wanted to, because I wanted to spend some time with him. It's no secret to me that a military job takes up a lot of hours in the week, and this past week, I saw even less of my husband than normal. It's true that I wanted the time with him. I also didn't want to go. 

I feel a bit guilty now, because although I spent time going to his race, I didn't have a positive attitude, and it was far from being quality time. 

Hopefully the rest of this weekend will improve. Maybe we will manage to do something together that we both can enjoy.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why I Started This Blog

I have moments of inspiration which I never turn into actual posts.

I find that I have quite a lot to share, and plenty of time that could be used to write it all down, but somehow I still never get around to doing it.

Today, I will keep it simple, by sharing my first piece of writing that actually made me consider blogging more regularly. You can find it on A Practical Wedding, or read it right here.

For reference, although APW published it on October 4th, 2012, I originally wrote this one day in May/June 2012, just a month prior to leaving the military.

* * * * *

Today, I am at a point where I am so stressed, so overwhelmed, and so scared, that I burst into tears in my office. An office that I am leaving in less than a month. I’m leaving for lots of good reasons, the main one being that this job has kept me away from my fiancĂ© for nearly our entire relationship, and we don’t want to start our marriage thousands of miles apart.
After exhausting our contacts and trying everything we could think of to get us stationed together, we came to the conclusion that the only way for us to be together was for one of us to give up his or her military career. And after weighing the options, we decided that I would be the one to separate. Or really, I decided. It was really my decision the whole time, but I like to say it was our decision. And at first, at least once the initial wishy-washy-ness wore off, I was deliriously happy about it. And then I was just okay with it, which was actually better.
I spent the last several months deployed, and I guess you could sort of call that my “last hurrah” in the military. I was busy and felt mission-essential, even though sometimes if felt like every day was Groundhog Day for a large stretch of time. I also managed to get a large chunk of wedding planning done in my spare time. Of course, I was also counting down the days until I would be done with the deployment, and the days after that until I would out of the military and reunited with my fiancĂ©.
But in my last few weeks out there, an older female Reservist arrived. As we stood in line for chow one evening, we started what could have been a friendly conversation. Instead, it turned into an interrogation. When do you leave? In a few weeks. Where are you going? Back to Germany, but then to North Carolina. Are you PCSing*? No, I’m separating. WHY?
Because I’m getting married.
I was caught off guard by her questioning. I was even more caught off guard by her sudden rant about how women shouldn’t leave their careers just to have babies and how she wished she hadn’t left active duty as early as she did and oh by the way I damn well better be joining the Reserves because then you’ll have a job and a retirement and be better off than all of the other military spouses because how could you possibly want to ever stay at home and just raise kids?
I was already planning on joining the Reserve, and had been emailing back and forth with my home station recruiter. I’d also been browsing for civilian jobs. It was a tough search because honestly we don’t know where we will be in six months or a year. He’s scheduled to move somewhere during that timeframe. But what if I didn’t find a job right away? Shouldn’t it be okay for me to stay home and take care of the household? And so what if I just want to make babies?
It’s funny how much an individual that you don’t even care about can affect your thinking. She planted seeds of doubt in my mind that grew while I was still out there, then on my flight back to Germany, and over the past week while I’ve been working my butt off to get everything taken care of before I leave for good. One of those tasks was to finally speak with the Reserve recruiter that I’ve been emailing over the past several months. The recruiter who finally reviewed my records, only to tell me that I’m ineligible for a Reserve commission. That is why I broke down at work today.
This is probably the scariest transition I’ve ever had to make in my life. When I come home to my empty apartment here, it almost feels like I’m doing it alone. That is, until my Skype lights up. He’s calling on his lunch break, and even though we can only talk for a little while, it’s enough to remind me that the reason I’m doing it is because I’m not alone.
I know I’m doing the right thing, even though sometimes it feels like I am giving up my whole life. I have to remind myself that I may be giving that life up, but it is in order to gain an entirely new life. One that I can actually share with my future husband.
Anyway, what better way to introduce myself to the occupation of Military Spouse, a career that involves giving up so many little things, over and over, than to give up one big thing at the start?
*PCS = Permanent Change of Station, the military’s way of saying “moving”


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