When Andy first told me the big news, I laughed. He’s just joking with me. Surely he’s not serious. After all, he’s only been at Fort Knox for 1 year and 5 months. He only has a year and a half left on his contract. When I looked up at my husband to see he was serious, I continued laughing as I walked away and begin to process what he just said. Quickly, my laughing turned to sobbing and I fell on the floor in shock.
How can we be moving so soon? I’m not finished here. I just got started! I’ve finally got a part-time job that I mostly like (even if the pay and hours are horrendous), and a lead on a great full-time job in my career field that pays well. We’re finally able to seriously pay off our debt. I’ve finally made friends here and found a church that I absolutely love. I finally feel at home at Fort Knox. I’m learning where the best restaurants are and can find my way around town without a GPS. My family is just two hours down the road and I get to see them without an expensive plane ticket or long drive.
Now, we’re moving across the country to a place where we will know no one. A place that will most likely be a civilian area. Where we’ll be outsiders. We won’t have fellow soldiers and military spouses to befriend. No offense to the civilians (let’s be honest, I’m a civilian-ish) but there is just something about having friends nearby who “get it.” We won’t have military housing to live in and will have to find a rental home that allows pets from thousands of miles away, without ever seeing it in person for ourselves since we can’t afford a house-hunting trip. I’ll have to go through the arduous job hunting process once again; the first time was so immensely stressful and depressing and had me questioning if I even made the right choice by leaving my stable job to get married to a soldier.
We’re pretty sure we will be moving out West, and if it’s anything like the recruiting area Andy was recruited out of, it will probably be miserable. Elko, NV (where he was recruited out of) has 18,000 people and absolutely nothing to do for hours and hours away. The nearest big cities, Reno, NV and Salt Lake City, UT, are 4 and 3.5 hours away respectively. Even Andy said there is no way he would move back to Nevada and we could now potentially be moving there or another similarly sparsely populated. We could be forced to move to a place where we are in the minority due to our conservative political views and religious beliefs. Or we could be forced to move to the heart of a big city, which is a major problem because I have driving anxiety and can’t deal with heavy traffic. And it’s all absolutely terrifying.
Every single Recruiter or Recruiter’s spouse I’ve spoken to said you either really love the job or hate the job. Andy’s friend, who became a Recruiter in the fall, absolutely hates it. He says it’s miserable and he has to work sunup to sundown and on evenings and weekends at community events. He’s been a Recruiter for 4 months, but he hasn’t has a single recruit because his market is tough. Honestly, I don’t see Andy as a Recruiter. If you know him in person, you know he is very shy and soft-spoken. I’m worried the job will be immensely stressful for him and he won’t meet his quota. I’m worried the job will negatively impact our marriage.
Everyone I’ve spoken to about this has had one of two reactions: “Suck it up, buttercup” or “This is what you signed up for. You knew what you were getting into.” Both equally tick me off. I didn’t sign up for a dang thing. I never took an oath to this country; I took a vow to my husband. He still had 2 years on his contract when we got married so it was either get married when we did or wait until he got out (read our proposal story to see why we got engaged and married when we did.) And for the people telling me to suck it up (mostly fellow spouses), I have a right to be upset and to have feelings. I’m not a robot. It doesn’t matter how much “worse” your situation is, let’s just agree it sucks, okay?
With all of the changes happening lately, the TDY (“business trip”) Andy was supposed to go on has been canceled– for him, at least. So now, we are able to go to the battalion ball. Except now we can’t afford it. The tickets are $40 each; the resort stopped the room discounts at the beginning of the month so it would be $300 for one room for one night. It’s too late for me to ask off work, and there’s no way I can find a dress with less than a week’s notice. We just can’t afford to spend $500 on one night when we have a PCS (move) coming up quickly and unexpectedly that we need to save for. Plus, sitting at a table with Andy’s coworkers pretending to be happy about Recruiter duty is not how I want to spend my evening. I have no poker face nor a brain filter which is proving to be a downfall as an Army wife. In fact, the other night I was with Andy at his work to drop off something, and someone came up to him laughing about Andy being selected for Recruiter duty. I was incredibly close to yanking open the truck door, flipping the guy off, and cussing him out. So, staying home is obviously in both of our best interest.
As I sat on the ground in shock, Andy tried to console me. And then I went crazy. I jumped up, tears streaming down my face, grabbed my cell phone and said, “I need to call my mom.” I paced around the house, bawling as I said, “Mom, are you busy?” I heard the panic in Mom’s voice as I tried to explain that we were okay and alive, but would be moving away so soon. Then I called my sisters. Brandi was so sweet about it, saying how she’ll come visit me and have a free place to stay on vacation and how she still loves me and we’re still sisters even if we’re thousands of miles apart. Brittany was so groggy because she had just woken up from a nap. My family agreed that we won’t tell Mamaw until after Brandi’s wedding because we don’t want to upset her. (At 75 years old, we’re honestly all afraid it might give her a heart attack.)
The day after I heard the news, I didn’t go to work. I didn’t sleep a wink the night before and actually had to take an anxiety medicine that my doctor prescribed PRN. I haven’t had to take anxiety medicine in months; in the last year I’ve had to take the anxiety medicine less than 5 times. I spent the entire day at home in pajamas, greasy-haired and all. Not even being productive, just sitting on the couch crying my eyes out. I barely ate anything all day because I was sick at the thought of everything happening so fast. After the medicine, I finally fell asleep for hours in the middle of the day which is completely out of character for me.
It’s been 4 days now and although I’m accepting the idea, I still don’t like it. I’m so overwhelmed at the thought of everything we have to do to move cross-country. I still hate the idea of putting our debt snowball completely on hold until we are settled in our new home because PCSes are so dang expensive and unpredictable (another time for Murphy’s Law to strike.)
I’ll know we’ll be okay, but it’s going to take time. But for now, I just need to feel.