Rant #1 from The Old Fart
What 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. Â 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...
How would you respond, fellow male-spouse? Could you do it, go to what you know will be all flowers and frill and make-up and cribs and represent the thousands of other male spouses that never even find out about these events? Â Can you swallow your machisimo and represent?
I did, and it was a blast - the gals actually loved it, especially when the door prizes were being brought out - there were some gender neutral items, and several gals struck deals with me that if they won one of the "guy approved" prizes, they'd trade with me if I won an Avon package or such. Â I even had one gal watching the beer samples the Budweiser folk brought out, letting me know when it was a new keg!
It is true, guys, that the Army has women in it's ranks. Â It is also true that the Army is supposed to work towards having at least 1 woman in each company in the near future. Â But that doesn't mean we will ever be as large of a group as the wives have been for decades.
So, we blend in as best as possible. Â Take all training opportunities you can. Â In the Army, it's called the FRG - the Family Readiness Group - that sees to the wellbeing of the soldier's family off-post and on-post, especially during a deployment. Â Learn what the FRG Leader is supposed to know by taking the class. Â That way you know when they are going to call you, when they are supposed to meet, and the expectations. Â Become active for your family. Â Get as active as you want - you don't have Â to be the FRG Leader if you take the class. Â That, my friend, is up to her Company CO.
Take other classes as well - there are a number of them online, thru Military OneSource, etc. Â The one I just completed on post was AFTB Level III - something I've already done at home online. Â Army Family Team Building is so much better in person, you get to meet more of the "leaders" that are spouses that way, and find out their problems and solutions. Â Anything training on post will increase your network of others who won't shun you, who will help you when you need it.
Ok, at home. Â You wake up, ready to hit the road and get to work... aw, crap, that's right, I live outside of an Army post now, gave up my career for my wife's career in the Army. Â Ok, cool, more sleep. Â No. Â No more sleep, I can smell the full trash in the kitchen wafting thru the open bedroom door. Shit, did the kids get to school in time? Â Clock says 6:35, they go out the door to the busstop (busstop... hahahaha... back in our hometown they friggin walked!) at 6:45... I don't hear them... gotta go check... trip over the dog who need to pee... open the front door, my manhood swinging happily in the open doorway as the dog bolts out barking, announcing that I am flashing the whole neighborhood... slam the door, grab a hoodie off the coat-tree and stomp upstairs... little shits are still asleep... turns out after getting them up that there was a power outage during the brief storm overnight and their battery backup needs working battries... another thing for the shopping list... ok, boys, get ready, I'll run you to school...
Sound like a day you can relate to? Â Guess what, she did this every day while I was working my ass off and never complained except for things *I* was directly responsible for. Â Not dishes, not laundry, not dusting, not sweeping, not cleaning toilets, not scrubbing the tubs, not vaccuuming.... my chore was take out the trash once a week, and to maintain the yard. Â Cool, I could do that. Â Now, the roles have reversed. Â Well, almost - the kids do the yard, the oldest boy does the trash, and she refuses to let me do the tubs (you don't get the mold, you cretin)...
I will not complain, she did it for me when my job was a piddly stupid job. Â I will not complain because she has offered to lay down her life for our freedom. Â Least I can do is keep the house in order for her, and to learn more about solving problems the Army way.
'Nuff said for now, Old Fart out.