By Jade Stone
It’s official! The countdown to deployment has begun.
Today we received a tentative training schedule. Jay leaves tomorrow for the first stint of a long stretch of training segments that will occur at various intervals. The first one will be 2 weeks with a 4-day break followed by a 6-week session which will focus strictly on the technical skills that he needs as a crew chief. This will most likely end with a week off.
At that point we will begin the serious soldier training which will take a month and most likely be in Montana.
Then it will be a downhill slide that will last roughly 50 days in Ft Hood and then he’s off to Afghanistan. As I mentioned before, everything is tentative and will most likely change. It always does, but it is so nice to have a rough draft! Believe it or not there is a tiny bit of excitement in the air in the house today, just knowing that we are no longer in a “holding pattern” so to speak.
I have spent the night re-budgeting and preparing for the gap in pay that always occurs between the time Jay leaves his civilian job and finally gets paid for active duty service. Believe me, it’s not an easy task and sometimes takes a little creativity but we will make it work…mostly because we just have to.
I think I have worked out childcare, bill payment, and possibly even a rotation of dental appointments, haircuts, and oil changes that will need to take place between now and the time that school is out. I have even managed to budget the 4 free weeks that are left for summer vacation after various conferences to be able to take Jess on mini vacations or better yet possibly to run wherever and visit Jay should the opportunity arise. I am officially exhausted but at least I have the peace of mind in knowing everything will fall into place when the time comes.
I think the scariest part for me now is the gap in pay that will inevitably show up in the next few weeks. I can handle just about anything life throws at me. There isn’t much that a deep breath and a moment of silence to think won’t help. However, the idea that I might not actually have the funds to pay what needs to be paid when it needs to be paid stresses me beyond belief.
You see, we don’t know if he will get paid within the two weeks of beginning the training or whether or not it might take a full month to get him on the payroll. For a family on a tight budget, this can be problematic. We have been blessed with a beautiful family, a cute (I stress cute over large) home that fits the 3 of us just fine for now, and a means to provide exactly what we need.
We aren’t the type of people who have many wants and are perfectly content with what we have. To be truthful, if someone were to ask me what I wanted for Valentine’s Day or even my birthday, I couldn’t even begin to tell you because it’s just not something I think about. Our only concern is that we have money for food and plenty for bills so that credit cards are not necessary.
This is a situation where there are just no guarantees. I suppose I will just hold my breath for two weeks and pray…a lot! In the past, while things may have been close, God has always given us everything we needed, just in time and I have to have faith that He will no doubt meet our needs in the near future. I tend to be a bit of a control freak so this is not an easy task but one that is certainly worth working on for my own sanity’s sake!
Next time I’ll fill you in on his new unit’s responsibility and what his job will entail. He is now a part of what is called a Dustoff unit and to my dismay it had nothing to do with cleaning! Bummer! I’m sure by then I will know a whole lot more about it myself. Have a great week!
Jade welcomes your comments here as well as any suggestions you may have for her future posts. You may also e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous Military Mama posts, CLICK HERE.