Thoughts on a rainy Wednesday: port calls and Facebook.

— My husband has been in port for a few days, and I’ve been very sad that I wasn’t there with him. We were royally screwed by this port because it was a last-minute change from another port. Long story, but I couldn’t change my tickets to the new port in time and we lost a lot of money (and yes, we had trip insurance!). This situation was one of the reasons I came home. Anyway, it’s very hard to be separated during port calls. The pilots go out drinking for lack of anything else to do, and being exactly 12hrs opposite made it very hard to find a good time to talk. The last night of port he stayed in the admin instead of going out so that we were able to text and FaceTime all night. It was AWESOME.

— Some thoughts about being separated during port calls:
— Have a communication schedule and make sure that schedule is a priority. You don’t need to talk constantly or all day, but it’s nice when both parties make themselves available for a long phone call or FaceTime every day.
— Decide ahead of time if your spouse should be buying you (as an individual or as a couple) anything in port. We’ve been collecting Christmas ornaments from every where we’ve gone together, and I wanted him to pick up an ornament or two during his port calls, too. I didn’t communicate that to him until he was leaving port. Oops!
— Try to remember that these port calls are for blowing off steam. I get extremely jealous that he’s out having a good time with 50 of his fellow pilot friends, and then we get into an argument. On the other hand, he forgets to call me or abruptly stops texting me when he’s drunk. We need to work on this by being more sensitive to each other’s communication needs. See my first point. Full circle.
— I know a lot of couples who have a budget for port calls. I don’t know about other areas of the Service, but Naval aviators like to live it up in port, and it’s not unheard of for them to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars in one night. Normally that kind of expenditure is Dubai-related, but it can happen in other ports, too. Have a budget if you are budget-conscious or newly married.
— Admins are a GREAT thing. Staying in the suite usually costs less then staying in a regular hotel room, even if you split it with a friend. The booze is free-flowing BUT it is significantly cheaper then drinking in local bars. Also, it’s the squadron or staff’s opportunity to hang out with each other. It’s a safe environment, they’re not out roaming the bar district, and everyone knows everyone else. You may have heard tales of admins in the 60s or 70s that were raucous parties and men cheated. Admins aren’t like that any more, and I’d rather have my husband hanging out in admins then out in bars in town.
— If you’re at a port and there’s an admin, you, as a spouse, aren’t usually invited in, or many people wouldn’t be okay with you in there. I support the admins on this one. Nothing “bad” is happening in there, but it is a safe haven for all of the squadron’s people to let loose and bond with each other. That sounds harsh, but that’s just how it is. Every squadron and staff has different admin rules, so some are more welcoming of spouses then others.
— For many F-18 squadrons, if you’re a new guy or girl (aka straight out of flight school), you may be requested to take part in an admin during cruise. If this is the case, the new guys/girls may ask their spouse to not attend the admin port, which obviously can become an issue. My husband went through this process before he met me, so we never had this problem. However, from my husband’s perspective, the admin is a bonding opportunity, and it’s a time when the new guy can bond with the experienced guys in the squadron in a relaxed environment. Try to be cool with it. It’s hard (I don’t envy you!), but it’s really good for your spouse.

— A friend has been incredibly angry about EVERYTHING recently. Her rantings have been in the form of a lot of angry Facebook posts that are usually related to the government or “do nothing” 20-somethings, but today the rant was about how “people need to stop racking up debt by wasting their time in graduate school”. I thought about reminding her that her health care providers, lawyers, etc attended graduate school, but I suddenly remembered that her husband deployed a few weeks ago and she’s home alone with a toddler and a baby. DUH. This is why she’s angry all the time — she’s probably lonely, sad, tired, and irritable, too. I did some serious FB ranting after Michael left and during my most difficult days of this deployment, too. FB is an easy target for those of us who are going through hard times. If you see a military wife friend ranting and raving on FB and her spouse recently deployed, give her some leeway and some of your time. She may just need a friend.

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