18 December 2010

Finally, one full year....

Today marks the first full year that Dan and I have been at home together. I actually never thought we'd have this until next year or the year after.

Our relationship started off long distance. In 2006 we met at Pope AFB and after one month together, we knew we wanted to be with each other forever and vowed to make it work. I PCS'd to Travis and he was off on his second deployment. We made our best efforts to visit each other whenever we could. By the time we got married in June 2008, we had spent a cumulative total of 3 months and 5 days together, in the flesh. With what we went through and survived during the first 2 years of our relationship, we know first hand that long distance relationships can work. We both loved each other so much that it helped us get through the loneliness of being apart.

Dan moved here to California September 2008 and we thought we'd finally be able to just be together and not worry about deployments. Back at Pope working with herks, we worried about rotations every 4 months. Here we don't have to worry about deployments that often unless we volunteer since the planes we work with don't deploy. We were foolish to be so naive. 8 months on station and they chose Dan to go on a high profile TDY for almost 3 weeks. OK, no big deal. He was still stateside, just 3 hours ahead. He returned in June and after being home for almost a month, he gets the news that they need him to deploy... the very next month.

Oy. August of last year, he deployed back to the desert that he thought he'd never have to see again (unless we went back to herks). It was the roughest deployment we'd ever endured being that before he left we were finally living together, seeing each other every single day. When we didn't have the luxury it was easier for him to deploy because to me, it meant that instead of being 3 hours behind that I'd be 11 or 12 hours behind. This time it meant sleeping alone, our routines being way off, and back to just being a single mom. When he returned, it was the absolute best day that year.

Being pregnant this year did have an advantage when it came to keeping him home. His boss at work every now and then would talk about needing Dan to deploy again but of course would be quick to say he was joking (ha ha). There were a couple TDYs that were close calls but someone would volunteer last minute and my stress levels would lower again knowing that Dan wouldn't miss anything during the pregnancy.

I am just so damn grateful that we finally have one full year side by side.

*Greeting Dan at the airport gate this day last year

12 December 2010

I'll still take it.


Not a big number by any means, but it is still a number. For those that don't follow news concerning the military, the Obama administration has approved a 1.4% pay raise for us next year. This is the lowest raise since 1962. As much as this is a pretty shitty raise, I'll still take it.

Those of us that don the military uniform every day are part of a population that is under appreciated and definitely does not receive the respect or recognition deserved. Anyone that volunteers to sign their life away to Uncle Sam, whether it is for four years or 20 years, should be applauded and praised for the sacrifices they make or have already made. Even though the military still faces ridicule and people protesting what we do, those serving our country are proud to wear the uniform and protect those that don't support our mission.

Sure, the pay raise we're getting January 1st is pretty shitty compared to the past, but I'll still take it. I know that there is still a gap between military pay and civilian pay, but I will gladly take what I can get. In a time when the economy is still struggling and people that were laid off are still scratching their heads because no one will hire them, I am fortunate to be where I am. The military will still take care of me and my family by guaranteeing my paycheck every 1st and 15th of every month, provide health care (even though it isn't as top notch as most civilians think), and make sure that I have a roof over my head and food in my stomach by providing me an allowance for both.

It would be nice to get another 3.4% pay raise like last year, or even the 2.7% raise from 2007. Yes, 1.4 is a low number, but it is still a number and a raise is guaranteed. We should all be thankful that we are at least getting one.