Macho Spouse


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2015 'Thank You' and Year In Review

malemilitaryspouse_2015_YIRIt's the holiday season and to me that means spending time with family and friends while reflecting on the year that was. How many had a good year? How many of you feel as if you've accomplished, overcome, loved and laughed as much as possible? There have been a few bad years in my life where I just wanted the damn thing to finish so I could start fresh with a clean slate, it's a mindset, but we all know that reality doesn't work that way. I usually judge my life in a similar way as to how we judge football coaches, “what have you done for me lately.” My year was a good one, a net-positive. So congratulations, you get “happy Chris,” or at least “less grumpy and sarcastic Chris.”

The tremendous amount of progress within the male military spouse community is one reason why 2015 was a good year. Guys, we're finally starting to get some recognition. People, businesses, and other organizations are starting to approach us and ask for our input, insight, and yes, our business. Marketers are finally recognizing that we are a demographic worth pursuing; just check out this holiday spot from Toys R Us. (I just bought 4 gift cards for my nieces from them because of this commercial.)

In 2015, Macho Spouse was approached by the Sonoran Desert Institute's School of Firearms Technology to hold the first ever “Male Military Spouse Appreciation Day” where SDI donated a full-tuition scholarship to their popular Gunsmithing certificate course. (Male military spouses are a large demographic for them.) USAA asked for our participation to help raise awareness on the importance of life insurance during “Life Insurance Awareness Month.” Yeah, I didn't know that month existed before this opportunity either, but USAA sure knows that we exist! And Marriott really knocked us off our feet when they offered several nights worth of hotel stays in return for a few reviews on their TownePlace Suites properties. TownePlace Suites made it very clear that they are interested in helping military families who are on the road, from PCSing to family vacations, TownePlace Suites wants our business!  And it's not like this is some shabby hotel chain guys, their rooms are usually very spacious, clean, come with fully equiped kitchens, and hot breakfasts.  I was surprised to learn how many were actuallyl located near military installations, which makes them a great temporary housing option, or vacation get-a-way. In full disclosure, I dispersed their generous offering quietly among those guys who have helped keep Macho Spouse up and running over the last few years. We don't make any money here, so when a top-notch organization such as Marriott offers us some swag, I like to spread it out amongst our volunteers first. If you want access to some of this cool stuff, contact me and be prepared to help build our community. But while I'm speaking of TownePlace Suites, you guys should check them out because they're really showing their appreciation and commitment to our military community! That goes for USAA and Sonoran Desert Institute as well, these organizations aren't just talking about supporting male military spouses, they're actually doing it. So let's not forget to return this generosity in 2016.

While I'm patting others on the back, I can't forget the amazing content NextGen Military Spouse, Military.com/SpouseBuzz, and Military Spouse delivered on behalf of male military spouses in 2015. When I started Macho Spouse in late 2011/early 2012, there was nearly nothing…nothing, written for or about us male military spouses. No blogs, no websites, no Facebook pages, no nothing. Now look at us, male spouses are popping up everywhere! (We've probably had absolutely nothing to do with this trend, but I will take full credit.) So despite terrorism, politics, war, and racial unrest, life hasn't been all bad this year. It's been good enough for me to crack a cold one, light a cigar, sit back and reflect on how far we've come and how many goals are still left to accomplish. Don't worry, I won't be consuming and driving while reflecting, Dana and I have already booked our New Year's Eve room at the San Antonio Riverwalk TownePlace Suites. Happy 2015 everyone, have a safe holiday season!

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Advice for the New 'Mr. Mom'

Winegar_2.jpgFor guys, staying at home with the kids can be unchartered territory. I think every stay at home dad approaches his role differently, and he conducts a lot of discovery learning to figure out what works best for him and his family. For this reason, I comprised a list of key points to advise fathers who are stepping into the role of "Mr. Mom." Although every family is different, I have to imagine seasoned stay at home dads will find my list relevant and in the ballpark of what to expect. If someone had given me a list like this nine years ago, it would have been helpful. Feel free to share your experiences and add some points that I didn't include to this discussion:

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Rant #1 from The Old Fart

daveblog.jpgWhat is like to be a military male-spouse? I will tell a little bit of my take on it... I am Crazy Dave Etter, also known as Old Fart.  Imagine the surprise of over 200 women in a historically all female attendance annual Army event called "Spouse Appreciation Night" when this 6 foot 300+ guy walks in and makes himself at home...

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New Resource for Male Military Spouses!

DavePhoto.jpgHow many of you guys have had the opportunity to listen to Dave Etter's blog talk radio show?  If not, well, it's a work in progress and that lack of show polish is just the way he wants it.  Dave is retired from the Navy and currently married to an Army medic, he has also volunteered as a Family Readiness Group Leader while stationed at Ft Campbell.  So to say Dave (aka “Old Fart”) is an opinionated straight-shooter who often times fires “from the hip” and checks his facts later would be an accurate statement.  I can joke about him because I know he can take it, hell, many times he insists on it! 

I met Dave for the first time last May at a bar in San Antonio, a perfect setting for the conversation that would launch today's Male Military Spouse Radio Show (MMSRS – don't blame me for another meaningless acronym, Dave picked the title).  As we sat there drinking some ice-cold brews and sharing stories, Dave mentioned that he used to be on the radio in Arizona.  Yes, he has the gift of gab.  I also knew he had a lot of experience helping military families navigate the often confusing path of DoD support groups and processes, so starting a blog talk radio show that combines his skills with knowledge was a no brainer.  I think it was at about the 3rd or 4th beer where we decided this was a good idea.  I believe he still feels the same way since he's been doing his show every Friday (noon CST) since June 2014.  Hell, he even picked up a show sponsor in fellow male military spouse Doug Nordman (author of The Military Guid to Financial Independence and Retirement).  The show quality continues to improve each week even though the Old Fart sometimes goes down never ending wormholes, but it's a remarkable improvement from the first show.  In fact, if you ever want a good laugh, go back and listen to that first show…classic!

Dave is a good man trying to help the best way he can, by bringing us spouses together and sharing knowledge.  He is rough around the edges and so is his show, which makes every Friday afternoon “must hear” radio.  Just a friendly heads-up, as soon as Dave learned that he could cuss on Blog Talk Radio, he started dropping the occasional “F bomb” simply because he could.  Hey, what do you expect from an old Navy fart!? 



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Gunsmithing Tips: Proper Barrel Cleaning

GunClean.jpgCleaning your rifle barrel regularly is as important as changing the oil in your vehicle. Without proper cleaning, the rifle will not perform optimally and can become damaged. Always check twice to ensure the rifle is unloaded before starting.

What You Will Need:

  • Some old toothbrushes and utility brushes

  • Q-tips

  • Cleaning patches

  • Bore brush to match rifle caliber

  • Gun oil

  • Bore cleaner or solvent

  • Rifle barrel cleaning rod and slotted end

  • Bent cleaning brush for rifles lacking easy breech-end access

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25 Reasons Why an Infant is Like a Deployment

ChrisFields.jpgTom Cruise took a great deal of heat a number of months back for suggesting that wrapping his film Oblivion was like returning from Afghanistan. And oh, did the howling begin in earnest. And while I know that he was trying to suggest that filming an action epic was physically demanding and mentally taxing, you just knew he picked the wrong metaphor to characterize his challenges.

(This is NOT Tom Cruise)


But there are at least one or two Cruise movies that you've enjoyed over the years, so you let it slide just this once, because you know it will never happen again. I ask that same level of charity and indulgence here…