This morning, I was so thrilled to greet Pete with a steaming cup of coffee after sleeping in (to the horribly "late" 8am) with these words:
"You retire from the Army this year."
THIS YEAR. In fact, with a humongous grin on his face, he countered my statement with this:
"I'm out of a job in 30 days."
Um.....wait a minute there. Thankfully, he was pointing to the beginning of his "terminal" leave (doesn't that sound positively awful to the civilian ear....I assure you, however, it is a WONDERFUL thing) the first of February. While remaining on the Department of Defense payroll as an active duty soldier, he will be able to draw his regular Army paycheck while being "on leave" and available to work another job. Double dipping! He's THRILLED. And I am too.
Somebody in the military's secret satellite service somewhere spying on us overheard that conversation and just HAD to make sure that our joyous beginning to the New Year began with our heads firmly planted on terra firma, however. About lunchtime, he got a call from his first sergeant (albeit a repeatedly apologetic phone call) informing Pete that he'd been placed on staff duty--sitting at the barracks manning phones and essentially babysitting whichever soldiers had no home to go to for the holidays and the ones coming back off of Christmas exodus early. So there he sits, the first day of the last year he'll serve as an active duty soldier, manning his post until 8am tomorrow. Funny, we were just joking the other day that as of Monday, he'll officially be retirING....so once the process starts its final countdown with the beginning of the clearance process, he can't pull duty anymore. This was literally THE last opportunity the unit had to put him on staff duty. FIGURES!!!!!!
I've had a rough afternoon/evening. With one sick and not-so-happy almost-five-month-old, a sixteen-month-old who is suffering from a lack of mama-lap time, three little girls who are still on a sugar-and-food-coloring high from the last two weeks, a teenage daughter who still hasn't quite figured out how to be a productive member of the family, and a son that I can't bear to look at for very long because I KNOW I'm seconds away from realizing he's going to Afghanistan in a couple of months.....I'm just not really enjoying my last day as a forced-single-mom. I'm tired, I'm sore, I have baby snot caked all over the entire front of my shirt, and I'm craving a Sonic Mocha Java Chiller something terrible. I've already broken my own resolution to keep my temper under control after the thirteenth trip back into the girls' room trying to get all four of them settled.
Can you see it?
I'm suffering from a bad case of selfishness. Not a good way to begin the New Year. I'm going to go grab my sword, do some communicating with the Commander, and do some battle before I go to bed alone. This year may mark the end of my "career" as an Army wife, but first and foremost, I'm still a soldier. My post needs manning.