Wednesday, May 28, 2008

sighing...

In my inbox today, a forwarded article from Christina announcing another sailor lost.

LT Jeffrey Ammon, who leaves behind a wife and two children, and who just volunteered to extend another year as an IA. He was killed in Afghanistan.

May your god bless you and provide solace to your family, LT Ammon.

In other news, we're working on logistics of living in Alabama for the duration of the IA. With the economy in the tank and the evil detailer from hell insisting that we PCS from San Diego (and NOT go to the handful of places we'd like to be, each with a hella better cost of living than SoCal), we're flirting with financial disaster unless we start renting this house ASAP and hold onto it until the market recovers. My parents are in Alabama, so I'd be able to live rent free for the seven months, I'd have built-in babysitters both for sanity checks and for school in January, and the cost of living is soooo much cheaper there. When my mom came to visit in April, she had a fit when four bags of groceries cost her over $50. Back home, it would have easily been half that.

There's plenty of downside to going, but I'm pretty motivated over the financial ruin aspect. I worked SO hard in Bahrain when I hated, loathed, and despised my job just so we could stash that money back. I can't bear the thought of kissing that much money goodbye.

That smarmy little detailer is going to get the snarky mojo, though. I'm seriously done with the blow-offs, the lies, the screwing over. The Navy might not function under the laws of karmic return, but I have no problem being the instrument of karma. No problem at all. Since it could make poor YodaMan the laughingstock of his peers if I try to take professional routes to get some satisfaction, I'll likely resort to juvenile tactics such as creating a website at http://ltschmoeisatwatwaffle.com.*

Just sayin'.

*Name changed to cover my arse, not to protect the guilty.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

For the Ones Close to Home....

The Global War on Terror has taken thousands of lives. Here are the Navy lives lost since 2001:

















ET3 Benjamin Johnson
EN1 Vincent Parker
MMFA Bryant L Davis
EMFA Michael J Jakes
CPO Matthew J Bourgeois
ABM1 Neil C Roberts
ENS Jerry O Pope II
PO3 Jason Profitt
PO1 Thomas E Retzer
PO2 Darrell Jones
PO1 Brian J Ouellette
PO1 Alec Mazur
CPO Jacques J Fontan
SCPO Daniel R Healy
LCDR Erik S Kristensen
PO1 Jeffery A Lucas
LT Michael M McGreevy Jr
PO2 Eric S Patton
PO2 James Suh
PO1 Jeffrey S Taylor
PO2 Matthew G Axelson
PO2 Danny P Dietz
LT Michael P Murphy
SGT Patrick D Stewart *
PO3 Fabricio Moreno
PO3 Emory J Turpin
HM3 John T Fralish
PO2 Laquita Pate James
PO2 Charles Luke Milam
PO3 Mark R Cannon
LT Kylan A Jones-Huffman



I know I likely missed a few while trying to scroll through the list of all men and women killed during this war. If you see someone missing, please let me know (snarkynavywife at google dot com) so I can add him or her.

* Patrick Stewart and his wife have earned my particular gratitude because of their religious beliefs and her efforts on his behalf to force the VA to recognize and allow the Wiccan pentacle as an emblem of faith on headstones and memorials. Stewart was an Army soldier and a Wiccan.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Not shit on, but it feels like it...

One of the things I keep forgetting as a milspouse is that there is no concept of karma in the Navy. The guys who backstab the same people whose shoulders they climb to get to the top, who never do any work outside of delegating tasks or ever seem to gather a solid set of knowledge, those are the ones who get ahead. The hard workers, the ones who take one for the team and who consider the needs of the Navy when making personal decisions, those get the shaft. Every. Time.

YodaMan wasn't in line for a promotion, but it was a very distant possibility. After he got screwed out of a LONG list of lineal numbers (about nine months' worth) just for transferring communities and then *gasp* taking orders to Bahrain when the war was imminent and there was a definite need for his presence, after he got screwed out of cherry orders and ended up being an Admiral's aide during one of the worst possible times to be anywhere near the Beltway, and after the last two horrible years of constant underways and back-to-back deployments followed by this upcoming IA... well, let's just say I lost focus on the whole karma bit. I hoped against hope that somewhere in the deepest blackest hole of the Navy, someone would take note of all our sacrifices and say, "Gee, he sure deserves it over this backstabbing, jackass idiot." Nah. Didn't happen.

Like YodaMan said, it was a big step away from being a pipe dream, but it was there. Next year, he should be in zone or very close to it. But with nine months of lineal numbers lost to doing "what's best for the Navy," he's still way behind the jackasses and dingleberry losers who pepper the halls of the Navy. :sigh: Whatever.

In other news, the detailer from hell - the same one who's running on a massive power trip since he, as a mere widdle lieutenant, has the power to cut freaking orders for commanders and lt commanders - still has not responded to a single one of my darling husband's phone calls or e-mails. He is officially hexed. Please to take note. I'm thinking of turning him into a newt. That or cursing him with the scent of elderberries. At least if I go with newt, he'll get better.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thanks and Acknowledgement

Yesterday after spin class, the woman who'd been riding next to me asked if I was military. It took a second to process her question within my post-exercise addled brain (no coffee, no breakfast, a jug of water, and an hour of intense aerobics = non-functioning brain, thank you very much), but then I realized she must have seen my ID. I told her my husband's in the military, and that's when the now standard response came.

She thanked me for the sacrifices we make.

It spawned a train of thought. I've had a generous handful of civilians acknowledge the lifestyle and what we give up daily. Without exception, I've appreciated every single person making the time to let me know they understand and (for a brief moment anyway) aren't taking their freedoms for granted. But what has stuck with me is that I never used to get comments. It's only been in the last few years that anyone has ever acknowledged us.

I blame TV. Lately, it seems like troops and families are getting more publicity, and the trials of military life are finally being laid out for the country to understand. I like this, but it's overdue.

Every military family sacrifices, even before we started this Global War on An Idea and Not a Country or Group Which Seems Like a Very Bad Idea But Nobody Asked Me. Service members all are underpaid, from the youngest seamen with kids at home and a wallet full of WIC and food stamps all the way to the Admirals and Generals. Those bastards are WELL paid, but it still doesn't add up to much when you consider the incredible responsibilities they have and the number of hours they work (okay, most of them anyway). Hell, even midshipmen who go to real schools and train within ROTC only get a pittance of a stipend that's *supposed* to cover their room and board (it was $100 a month when I was in school 14 years ago, and it apparently hadn't changed since I believe WWII).*

In spite of all the sacrifices I can genuinely acknowledge every military member faces and which every military family member must endure, I have to say that the Navy and the Marines endure worse. I say this not in judgment but to point out the blind masses who only now, five years after a war began, are recognizing the hardships of military life that sailors and marines have never had a break from. The Navy never stopped deploying. They did it during the Cold War, they did it between the Cold War and the Gulf Wars, and they'll be doing it in twenty years when (please gods) all this current crap is behind us. It's what they do. And since I must rib marines, I shall say now that since their entire job is to hitch a ride on the Navy's vessels, they have also continued with their deployments (end dig! ;). Army and Air Force definitely had jobs that took them away from home, but to paraphrase a recently overheard admiral, "The Army and Air Force took a vacation for several years, but we never stopped."

Maybe because the Army and Air Farce are so much bigger than the combined Navy/Marine forces, it wasn't obvious during the years of "peace" that sacrifices were still being made constantly. Maybe it didn't sink in for civilians who lived in Navy towns and saw brief footage of farewells as ships left port. Who knows. But it's interesting that I spent the first ten or eleven years of my marriage enduring the worst the Navy had to dole out with no understanding or even lip service from the civilian world, and in the last few years, I've seen a giant swell of recognition from the formerly blind.

This is a good thing, to be sure. I just hope, when other news takes priority and the troops are no longer the scoop du jour, civilians will still be aware and will still remember. When the soldiers and airmen come home, when national guardsmen are relieved from foreign service at last, when the sailors and marines are still humping it hard away from their families and homes, I hope those civilians haven't forgotten.

Because the sacrifices never stop.



*You can argue on that one that midshipmen aren't putting their lives on the line, but I can argue that they're selling their souls to the military for YEARS in exchange for their scholarships, and that their training requires them to spend time in very dangerous situations during their summers. Also, if a stipend is meant to cover your living expenses, you probably shouldn't have to take out a massive student loan on top of your ROTC scholarship just so you can live in the shittiest dorm room or roach-infested apartment... not that I'm bitter about the student loans we're paying that covered YodaMan's holy shit apartment... nope, not me!

Dinner at Chez Admiral

I went to the dinner last night for the staff spouses (all wives at this point) last night. It was interesting and much more fun than I'd have thought it would be. The admiral's wife is nice, irreverent, and funny, and she's a great hostess, so it turned into a painless evening.

I met a milspouse just coming in. She spent time in the Middle East as a translater, and though she looks and seems entirely too sweet for her own good, she's apparently ex-Navy herself. We've agreed to get together for dinner sometime soon at a Middle Eastern restaurant that just opened up in town.

Alas, I cannot snark on anyone or anything that happened last night. Everyone was nice, nobody gave me stank eye and walked away, and everyone seemed genuine. It was interesting getting home and relaying some of the women's names, then hearing YodaMan relay stories about each one. One woman apparently witnessed him in his finest drunk mode and said he needed to do stand up (YodaMan's only very funny when he's blitzed, btw). Another had the unfortunate luck to be in the presence of a very drunk officer who commented on her "nice rack." [Holy shit, batman!]

The third story I heard, prompted by one of the wives I told him about, bothered me greatly. Nothing to do with the milspouse and everything to with religion in the military. Apparently, one of the guys YodaMan works with likes to bitch when people talk over the evening prayer as it's being broadcast throughout the entire ship every. Stinking. Day. Holy cow, are we serious here? A Christian prayer aboard ship every day, broadcast for everyone to hear? When do they let the Pagan folks get on there and pray to the Goddess or Artemis or Odin or Oya or God Herself or Cernunnos or.... get me? I know there are Pagans on that ship. I'd also bet my firstborn that there are some Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, and/or Jains, etc. on that ship. Why is the whole ship being preached to and led in a prayer that does not appeal to the spiritual needs of each individual? And why does it happen over the 1MC?

I also don't get this angst from the guy who thinks everyone should pay respect by shutting up during that prayer when nothing else gets that respect. WTF?

I swear, the Navy is soooooo lucky I lost my kneecap and scholarship et al before I sold my soul into a commission. I'd be on a freaking rampage... if I'd made it this far. Which is incredibly doubtful.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

And now for a moment of entertainment

Forgot to mention in my last post a little bit of funny that happened today....

You know YodaMan is about to detach from his ship and is heading for an IA before he (supposedly) goes to Monterey. Today I got an e-mail from the admiral's wife announcing an incoming invitation to farewell two officers' wives and to welcome the new COS's wife.

Imagine my shock (and please note the dripping sarcasm here) to find that my name was not one of the farewells.

I told YodaMan, and he said I should go anyway and pull out some snark. I'm considering it....

I'm back!

He's home. He's actually home. I still don't quite believe it, didn't actually believe it was happening until he called from Hawaii... and even then....

The weekend in Vegas was awesome. We stayed at the Excalibur, which sucked greatly, but we had a good time away from the kids for the first time since our first was born. It was nice, though YodaMan in typical YM fashion referred to the various activities we did as having put "another check in the box." I guess he was on a mission to accomplish stuff. I just wanted the chance to sleep in, not worry about cleaning floors or dishes or butts (excepting my own, of course), and maybe catch a show.

The weekend was a resounding success. The boys were absolutely ecstatic to have Daddy home. Unfortunately, YodaMan was back at work first thing Monday morning, and son the elder broke down in the most heartrending sobs when he thought his father had gone back to the ship. Same this morning. :sigh: The IA, which starts in less than two months, is going to be the absolute suckiest thing that EVER happened in the Yoda household. My heart is breaking just thinking of what's coming. My poor babies are going to start thinking their dad is here for good, and then he's going to disappear again.

I do NOT want this. I despise this life. And I hate what this bitterness is starting to do to me. At least I have this blog for venting.

On to better news, I went to the incredible 90 minute spin class yesterday. And I survived it. My leg muscles were sore this morning, the first time they've whined since the first week I started spin.

And did I mention my husband is finally home? Even if it's for shy of two months, I'll take it. I've missed him so much, but I'm already shutting down in preparation for the IA. Which sucks. I'm trying not to, but it's almost becoming a survival instinct to be emotionally unavailable. Goddamn Navy.