Jeff left for Japan in December of ’08. I have to give the man a lot of credit – it was hard to say good-bye and all that but the kids and I were still in our house, with our dog, with our neighbors – Jeff on the other hand was moving to another country with 2 suitcases in hand. Of course when you’re in the military it’s not like you have a lot of choice in the matter, but still it doesn’t make the missed birthdays, missed anniversary’s (oh yeah, and in case anyone was counting this was our 25th – spent apart, how typical), missed soccer games, crew meets, etc. any easier. It was also the first time in our Navy life that Jeff was a geographical bachelor and we can’t whine too loudly about that – I think most of our Navy friends have done this at least one time or another. All for the family good.
No room at the inn
Have to love the Navy who looks after their own. Jeff arrives with orders in hand (but not bags because the airlines lost one of his bags that had all of his clothes) and immediately discovers that even though his orders say he gets 60 days in the BOQ (Bachelor Officer’s Quarters) – they give him a whopping ten days. No amount of pointing at his orders does a bit of good. He does manage to get extended a couple of days at a time but this is also in the middle of trying to check in – which is a long process – two weeks of indoc classes, looking for a car, etc. In the end we both decided the one stressor he really didn’t need anymore was to wake up each morning and not know if he had a place to sleep that night. He finds an agent to work with out in town and goes through the process of securing off base housing – but because he is a Pediatrician he is required to live 20 minutes door-to-door for delivery’s (OB’s are required to do this too – the only two type of doctors that this is mandatory). This proves to be somewhat of a challenge as most of the apts just off base have been swooped up by government contractors – at one point he was looking at having to sleep on a fellow doctor’s sofa for a few nights because the Navy Lodge was full, the BOQ was booting him and he still hadn’t been able to find an apt that met the time constraints. Yes, a person with even a smidge of common sense would think – surely the Navy takes care of it’s own and since they require OB/Peds docs to live close they would help arrange some sort of housing priority. Well, that certainly sounds like a reasonable idea at least from this spouses point of view but it’s not apparently a high priority to those in charge.
It’ll all work out
Jeff does end up finding an apt and it was a traditional Japanese apt. He had us in stitches on Skype as he walked his laptop through the apt showing us the room with the tatami mats, the teeny-tiny kitchen with no oven. Traditional Japanese homes do not have ovens and as a matter of fact I’ve been told that those of us with on base kitchens open up our homes during the holiday season to military families living off base so they can come and bake holiday cookies. But the room which seemed to hold the most fascination with him was the bathroom. I swear he’ll be ordering one of those Toto toilets to go back in our shipment that heats the seat, plays music and washes off the correct body part for whatever function you just performed en toilet. He gets a bike while waiting for a car to pop up on base for sale – so he’s using pedal power to get into the hospital, which it turns out is actually faster than trying to drive, but it is darn cold at 2 a.m. in January when he’s riding in for a delivery. He gets loaner furniture – he had a bed, a chair, a desk. That was pretty much it. He does finally get a car. And in the end it did all work out. Just maybe not quite with the ease he and I had envisioned. And maybe that’s the point – the path is not always easy to get where you want to go. Something I had to keep reminding myself of constantly during this time.
I appreciate you all letting me get this all down and out of my system. I’ll try and wrap up the moving saga with several more entries that will hopefully answer some of the questions I’ve been getting in my emails. Clunker vs Junker, Unconditional Love, Meanwhile Back at the Ranch, It takes more than a village, Hey Mom, what’s your time for the 50 Yard Dash?
Till next time, sayonara. Jane