01 April 2012

A New Chapter For Both of Our Careers

December was the last time anyone's posted in this blog. Is anyone even out there anymore? I should really try and get Dan to contribute more... and yes, I need to remember this blog is here for me to update as well.

April 1st. This will definitely not be an April Fool's blog post. Everything will be true, I promise.

Dan is officially an ALS instructor. ALS stands for Airmen Leadership School. It is a requirement for enlisted Airmen to attend this Professional Military Education (aka PME) course before they pin on E-5. That pay grade is a crucial point in an Air Force enlisted member's career because they are finally at that supervisor level. The six week course is designed to teach Airmen the essential tools needed to be an effective supervisor. Bullet writing for EPRs (Enlisted Performance Reports), how to give briefings, conducting feedback sessions, how to adjust your approach for different personalities, etc. Of course it doesn't have everything a young soon-to-be supervisor needs in order to be a stand up Staff Sergeant in today's Air Force, but it's a start.

From about a month, Dan was away at Maxwell AFB, Alabama learning how to be an instructor for PME courses in our great Air Force. Developing lesson plans, reinforcing key points, keeping your class on task; Dan learned it all and all of the rules and regulations that go along with being a military "teacher". Just this past Thursday, he attended his first ALS graduation banquet as the newest ALS instructor. Next week he'll finally start "co-instructing" his first ALS class and begin learning the material along with the students and start figuring out what it is to be an instructor. It'll be at least three class cycles before he teaches his own class alone, but it's still exciting. I'm curious as to how his schedule will be and whether or not I'll want to attend any of the graduation banquets with him. It was one thing for his coworkers to find out who I am, but students are a whole different ballgame.

A new chapter has begun in my military career since the last post as well. I am officially going through an MEB, or a medical evaluation board. It's finally happened. I almost went through one back in 2008, but for some strange reason it just never really "took off" and sort of halted before anything could really be looked into. This MEB started in January with the discovery of my adult-onset asthma. Yes, the dreaded "a" word. The "a" word in the military is a huge no-no. Anyone hears that you may have asthma, it's grounds for separation. Back in the day, if you had asthma in the Air Force, they simply coded you in your medical records with a "C" and they returned you to duty. The "C" simply meant that you had a medical condition that would not allow you to deploy. Nowdays, if you have asthma, the military will do their best to control it, but if it's too bad, then they will medically separate you or even retire you. Cases are rare, but it happens. The last person I've known to be medically retire for having asthma wasn't even in the military for a year. She was a girl in my squadron who was training to be a loadmaster. I think she had only been on station maybe 4 months, had trouble with her PT tests and BAM! Next thing you know, she's being medically separated. Don't remember if she just hid it while going through MEPS, BMT, and tech school (it happens a lot), but she had the breathing issues here and that was the medical boards' decision.

Apparently, the heavy breathing I've always experienced when running long distances is not normal (so they told me during the breathing tests). Since my brother, dad, and members on my dad's side have asthma, that makes me prone to developing asthma later in life. Thanks. This issue added on top of my slow progressing right knee is grounds for my MEB. I don't know how quick everything will go, but for now I can tell you that it's going very slowly. The last thing I heard on the progress of my MEB package was that my acting first shirt helped with the commander's letter to the board. For me, it's pretty much the "hurry up and wait" game.

Other than that, military life has been the same here. While Dan was gone, we tried to FaceTime every night if he wasn't bogged down with studying for a test or creating a lesson plan and if both kids were in a good mood to just sit still and chat. The ops tempo in my squadron has slowed a bit which I'm actually enjoying for a change. I'm usually antsy when I'm not working constantly; I like staying busy, but this time I'm loving that I can slow down and just be... a slacker. Sounds so strange to me, but I am. I find myself pushing things off at work because I can. Instead of doing something right away, sometimes I'll wait until right before lunch or maybe after lunch to do it... just because I can since we are all caught up. It's a great feeling.

If only I can get that way in the household. There's always something that could be cleaned, washed, organized, or changed. Too bad we didn't hit that $640M jackpot. I would've hired a cleaning lady. :)

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