Okay, I said that I would write about military life. First of all, I love it. I really do. I expected to not hate it because it’s not in my personality to hate something that I have to live with but I didn’t expect it to be quite such a perfect fit. Now, we’ve only been in 6 months, so things could change, but here’s what’s working for us.
Army Community Service does classes to introduce you to the military life. I have learned so much. Most of it is little things, like I am not in the chain of command. I do not have rank and therefore, no one “outranks” me. A sergeant can’t yell at me. Seriously. I can call CQ and ask to speak to the Commander of the Air Force and he can refuse to talk to me but no one can yell at me. Maybe that sounds really silly to you but I was really scared at first. I was afraid to go into buildings on base because I thought that someone would yell at me. Okay, and someone could be having a bad day and yell but I am just as likely to run into that in the civilian world, and maybe even more so.
I have found numerous resources that are military centered. There’s a website for military members and their families that has almost any information that you could want. They will help you find things in your community, maybe a future community. They answer questions that you have about military issues, advice about different things, pamplets and CD’s you can order (at no cost. Everything is free).
Because we live on base, everyone is military. Which is wonderful. Normally, it takes awhile to get to know someone and find out if you have anything in common and if you can be friends. Well, here, the first step is taken care of. You do have something in common. You are in the military. At the park that we go to nearly everyday, we run into the same moms at least once a week. I go with my neighboor and her daycare kids most everyday (unless I have errands–yuck) and we know most everyone at the park. By name. I have never had that. And there is so much parental involvement. We went trick or treating with our daughter and my husband said that he’s never seen that much parental involvement. (I’ve only trick or treated a couple of times in my life and don’t really remember so I am taking his word for it). But there really is a ton of involvement (how many times can I use that word in one paragraph?) A lot of moms are stay at home because…
And that brings me to my next reason that we love the military. We are making a ton of money!!! I know that a lot of people take a pay cut to join the military but we certainly didn’t. They pay for our housing-utilities included. We are in one of the new houses (luck of the draw) and, seriously, it is the most beautiful home that we’ve ever lived in–and if you’ve seen our other homes, you realize that isn’t that hard–but it’s really pretty. We have 10 foot ceilings, 3 bedrooms (all good sized), a study room, a large kitchen (my cupboards aren’t full), a laundry room, a rec room, dining room, living room, 2 full baths, a two car garage and a very small fenced in back yard. Then, after paying for that, they pay us our base pay and basic allowance for substinance. Then they pay for our health insurance (or get us such a good deal that we don’t notice it being taken from our paycheck) which is incredible. We don’t pay for anything. No co-pay. No deductible. Nothing. Now, we do have to go to our preferred provider-except for ob-gyn and mental health needs. But we are not very picky. We don’t really care. Then we get a great deal on life insurance. We all have it, which is exciting. We are paying off our debt. We are putting money into savings. We are finally able to get our heads above water. This is very exciting for us. We are able to really bless others because of how we have been blessed. We’ve started giving money away when bums ask us for it. We figure, God has blessed us and we can turn around and bless those less fortunate than us.
Oh, and when we move – which is often – not only do they pay for the move, they pay us because we have been so inconvenienced by the move. They pay us for the time we traveled and then throw a bonus on top of it. If we move ourselves, we make even more. We honestly dont’ understand why more people don’t join. Yes, there is the chance of my husband getting shot in Iraq. Does anyone remember Pizza Hut? Need I say more? Seriously though, when your time is up, it’s up. He’ll either get shot, have a heart attach, get hit by a bus, or choke on a doughnut. When God says “Come Home” you go home. And I would much rather have my husband die doing something that he’s proud of, I’m proud of, and matters, then choke on a doughnut while sitting behind the sercurtiy desk of some governement hand-out station.
What else do we like about the military? The comradery, the pay, the benefits, oh, the commisary. They sell everything at cost with a 5% surcharge, but no sales tax. So it’s like getting it at cost and paying sales tax. It saves us between 24-40% on our groceries. I really like the commissary. The Exchange hasn’t been that great for us, mostly because we don’t buy lots of name brand stuff and that’s where they really save you money. But we’ve used it some and it’s good too. There are actually lots of things that we havne’t even begun to utilize.
Well, those are all the good things that I have time to write about now. I will probably think of more later. And I will rant about some of the negative things (there are some negatives).
Oh, and I hope I don’t offend anyone by talking so much about money. Because the pay scales are public knowledge, it’s really not taboo here and money has been such a worry for us for so long that we just want to shout from the mountain top — “WE AREN’T BROKE ANYMORE!!”