Friday, November 12, 2010

Moved and Moving

Where we lived for the first 2 1/2 years in Ohio (on the left)

We knew joining the military would mean moving around. A lot. Which is actually a perk to us :) We've been told that we'll typically be staying at each place 3-4 years. Fred's commander was confident that he could help us get overseas for our next assignment, sometime summer 2011 (Fred's 3-year mark). Emphasis on the "was"...

Allow me to back up a little, though.

3 weeks ago we moved from our place on Dupont, to a townhouse in another area of base housing. We loved our last place- fantastic huge backyard, nice neighbors, attached garage, great ward. But we felt the time was right for the change.

(I added the cobwebs for Halloween)

Our new place has a much better floor plan, is within walking distance of shopping, is in a great neighborhood and is also in another fantastic ward. We love it.

6 days after getting the keys to our new place, Fred came home with news.
Big news.

He sat me down and, after beating around bush for a while, told me we got orders to move away from Ohio. He kept drawing it out, which drove me nuts- I was so excited! Finally he took a deep breath and let me have it...
Maxwell AFB by Montgomery, Alabama.
By February 10th.

I was stunned. I experienced the whole range of emotions in the matter of a minute.
Shock- we hadn't expected orders so soon, and the move is in less than 3 months
Disappointment - it was stateside, NOT overseas.
Fear - I'd heard that area of the country can be kinda scary
Frustration - we'd just had a GREAT move and it means having the kids change schools in the middle of the school year... to an area of the country that is known for suffering in the education department.
Anger - Maxwell was the ONE AND ONLY base/area of the country I had ever actually said I DON'T want to be stationed at.
Helplessness - realizing, as probably every military wife does at some point, that no matter what you may think is "typical or likely" you don't really have any control over where you will live and when.

And I cried.

I cried for all the reasons stated above and also BECAUSE I was crying! I'd always taken pride in my resolve to accept every challenge the military would throw at us, specifically in terms of where they would send us. And here I was crying, instead of bravely stepping up to the challenge!

At first we hoped it was a mistake- it's too soon, Fred's new responsibilities aren't remotely related to what he's doing now (he's currently in finance and the new orders have him as an OTS [officer training school] instructor), his paperwork had been specifically worded to guide the decision makers toward Europe. But he's been in touch with his new commander and it's very much NOT a mistake.

We've known for just over a week now. Since then I've come to terms with what's happening. We've decided to move out of here the first week of January so that the kids can start the spring semester at their new school (which will be on base if we live in base. We've heard that school is fantastic).

We've explored housing options and are hoping to get into a house on Maxwell, so both Fred and the kids could walk to school/work. We'd have to get special permission to move into senior officer housing, though (junior officer housing is all full). If that doesn't work out, we'll probably move into a house on Gunter AFB, 20 minutes from Maxwell. The kids could still take the bus to the school on Maxwell, but Gunter has fewer amenities than Maxwell. Either way, the housing on both bases has been recently updated and is apparently really nice.

(A picture from the housing website)

We know we'll be there 3 years. It's unlikely that Fred will deploy as long as he's an instructor at Maxwell. We've been assured he'll most likely be able to choose our follow-on base (I'll believe that when it happens). Apparently the ward there (more like branch) is absolutely wonderful.

The most reassuring thing we've heard are accounts from many people who have been stationed there before. They all tell the same story,

"I cried when I got orders to move there, and then cried again when I had to leave."

I've since dried my eyes and embraced the pending move. There are still lots of uncertainties and just the regular stress that comes with moving, but I'm ok with it now. Having moved just recently, most of our things are still organized and I've already gotten rid of a lot of junk. It's been a liberating experience.

So, 3 years from now my kiddos will have developed a cute southern drawl, I'll hopefully have learned how to make some great southern dishes, Fred will have added some great bullet points to his record and we'll probably (hopefully) be crying again as we anticipate our next move.

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