In Your Community
It'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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When Motley Crue's “Final Tour” came through San Antonio, my wife and I felt we just had to go. Their music played such an important role throughout our impressionable years, well, honestly Vince, Tommy, and Nikki had more of an impact on Dana than me. (Sorry Crue, but I've always been more of a Parrot Head!) But I do like several of their songs and have seen them in concert a few times, so a final romp on the wild side sounded appropriate.
We are slightly older now than we were in '88 so a lot has changed. For one, rather than just show up slightly intoxicated and hope to find some cheap seats, we bought our tickets weeks in advance. Good ones to! We also made sure both of us had the following day off from work, no more working with ears still ringing and head pounding. We are now productive adults. Plus, neither of us was planning on passing out in our car after the show, or driving home, so we felt it important to get a room…a nice room…on the River Walk. Twenty-five years ago we would've shacked-up at the cheapest "roach motel" for the night and not worried about location, comfort, or cleanliness. Oh how times have changed!
Staying at the TownePlace Suites was a pretty easy decision considering they had just given me a couple free nights in their hotels in exchange for some honest reviews, this is one. Before TownePlace Suites contacted me I honestly had no idea they had a location in downtown San Antonio, my wife and I usually stay at the Hyatt or Sheraton. So this would work out perfectly, especially since TownePlace welcomes pets and we wanted to bring our dog, Brutus. Yeah, bringing our doggie to a night of rock and roll craziness with Motley Crue...oh how times have changed!
On the day of the show, we checked in a few hours early and were pleasantly surprised at the attentiveness of the valet, doormen, and front desk personnel. The hotel lobby looked to be recently remodeled with a modern flare and clean lines. I have to admit, I was very impressed. The price of the room fell in line with what most four/five-star rated hotels charge, my only complaint would be the $100 non-refundable pet deposit. That seems a bit steep, especially for a well-trained dog. Our room was just as I expected after walking through the lobby, clean, modern, and comfortable. We had a nice view of their indoor pool and a good-sized refrigerator for our champagne. Ahhh yes, nothing says Motley Crue like a bottle of Domain Chandon! In my last post about TownPlace Suites I mentioned our need for creature comforts, well, this hotel fulfilled all of those needs.
Now in all honesty, I don't have much else to report on the Downtown TownePlace Suites because after Dana and I fed the dog and enjoyed our champaign, we left for the night. The hotel is conveniently located across the street from the Ticket, a sports bar where we started our bar-hop, and then just down the street is the Buckhorn, and then just down the street...I'm sure you get the point. TownePlace downtown San Antonio is in a great location. I can say that at no time did I worry about Brutus or our belongings, I think security and peace of mind are very underrated aspects of staying at any hotel. TownPlace's friendly and professional employees definitely put me at ease.
Now, as for Motley Crue. They were awesome. If you missed them on this final tour, I'm sorry, you missed a great night of 80's style over-indulgence! (big hair, big drinks, big tabs, and big noise!) Just watching Tommy play his drums upside down while hanging from the ceiling directly over my head is an image I'll never forget. (I will post that video shortly) Sorry kids, none of today's performers come close to putting on a better show than the classic hair bands of the 80's.
Hey gang, fellow male military spouse Michael Piatt designed us a new logo. We can envision this on t-shirts, in videos, and easily readable on social media channels. We happen to love it, but what do you think? Is it a winner?
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Hello male military spouse community! â€¨â€¨My name is Jamison Stone and I am the spouse of Staff Sergeant Rebecca Bainbridge of the United States Army Field Band at Fort Meade, Maryland. Because of her assignment, my wife, and the rest of her company, are on tour and away from their families for over 100 days out of the year.â€¨â€¨
As you very well know, Military service is hard on families. While I speak more about this topic on my blog, the ongoing struggle is very taxing to both the heart and the mind. Most difficult for me is the sadness and depression of separation during my partner's deployment and training.â€¨â€¨
Sadly, many Military Families have it far worse off than we do, particularly those with service members actually in harm's way, and especially of course those who make the ultimate sacrifice defending our country. All these women and men who proudly wear the cloth of our nation, and their families, are true heroes.â€¨â€¨
Female Mil Spouses are very lucky to have a wide network of other military wives to lean on during these difficult times. Sadly, we men, are not as fortunate. Personally, I find it extremely challenging as an Army husband to find a real sense of community. This is particularly emphasized when my wife is away on training or tour.
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The School of Firearms Technology (SFT) at Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) and Macho Spouse have announced the first ever Male Military Spouse Day dedicated to the male spouses of America's service members. To celebrate the launch of Male Military Spouse Day, SDI is offering a scholarship opportunity for male military spouses. To be eligible for the scholarship, you must be a member of the MachoSpouse.com community (registration is FREE and all we ask is your email address).Â This year's debut Male Military Spouse Day will see one spouse within our community win a full-tuition scholarship for the School of Firearms Technology professional Gunsmithing certificate course. The winner will also receive a complete build of an AR-15 rifle, for a total award value of more than $3,000.
SFT created this course specifically to fit within the MyCAA scholarship. However, you do not have to qualify for MyCAA benefits to be eligible for this scholarship opportunity. Â Hear from Terry Fields, a male military spouse on this great opportunity in the video above.
Male Military Spouse Day
The first Male Military Spouse Day will be May 7, 2015 in order to honor the lives and struggles of our under-recognized population.
With nearly 190,000 male military spouses globally (per DoD), our large but scattered group faces significant challenges. Stigma and social disconnection complicate common military spouse issues such as underemployment and family stress, leading to a divorce rate nearly three times higher among military-affiliated couples in which the wife is the service member. (Just released stats show this high % of divorce for male military spouses to be dropping, great news, but we still have a lot of work to do!)
The purpose of Male Military Spouse Day will be to raise the public profile of this group in order to facilitate awareness of male military spouse concerns and the development of solutions to preventable problems such as social isolation and educational access.Â Here's what Macho Spouse founder, Chris Pape, had to say about being a part of Male Military Spouse Day: â€œConsidering that Macho Spouse is the only legitimate resource available to male military spouses, it is a great feeling to be part of an official "Male Military Spouse Day." In fact, given that this is probably the first official Male Military Spouse Day ever, it's even more exciting! Now, throw in the fact that one or our members will be awarded a life-changing opportunity to receive an SDI Gunsmithing scholarship, and this will be one hell of a day!â€
Gunsmithing Scholarship Opportunity
SDI's scholarship opportunity offered in conjunction with the first Male Military Spouse Day is intended to showcase the resources that are available to male spouses who have yet to take advantage of their military-sponsored My Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) education entitlement. However, the Gunsmithing scholarship recipient does not need MyCAA eligibility to qualify for the award.
The School of Firearms Technology's Gunsmithing certificate course is an introductory class that teaches the knowledge and skills required to obtain an entry-level position as a gunsmith. All coursework is online and accessible from any location. Hardware for the course is shipped to the student as needed. Â Graduates of SFT's Gunsmithing course will receive a certificate to present to employers as evidence of their training in the building, maintenance, customization, and legal sale of different types of firearms. Certificates can be used to obtain valid employment as a gunsmith. Many graduates take the course to get more knowledge on an enjoyable hobby or to get started on their own business. With military connections, they have a ready-made customer base.
Macho Spouse and the Sonoran Desert Institute are initiating Male Military Spouse Day and the 2015 scholarship giveaway as a gesture of recognition and solidarity with male military spouses who struggle with economic or family stress. Readers can learn more about Gunsmith training at the online home of SDI's School of Firearms Technology or register as a member of Macho Spouse before the May 7thÂ announcement of the scholarship winner.
About Sonoran Desert Institute: The School of Firearms Technology began in 1921 (that's even older than the NRA!), under the name of the School of Gunsmithing. Since then, it has transformed into an internationally recognized school offering multiple programs, including one of the only Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degrees in the country, some of the nation's best Gunsmithing Certificate programs, and a diverse armorer's programs. The School of Firearms Technology's elite faculty and staff include celebrated military personnel, nearly 75 years' worth of combined higher education experience, nationally recognized firearms experts and more.
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A couple months ago, Bradley Blackburn and Joanna Suarez of Fusion TV (a joint cable/satellite TV network between Disney and ABC TV) stopped by the international Macho Spouse headquarters. We were very impressed with their level of genuine interest in telling not only Macho Spouse's story, but that of male military spouses. The finished product is outstanding, thank you Fusion, Bradley, and Joanna! The story airs on October 30th in the evening (not sure the time), but if you can't find it on your TV...no worries, the link is below. Make sure you leave a comment on their website after the story, if they see interest from the public, they may tell more military family stories in the future.
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How do you help new neighbors that have just PCS'd into your area, when you hate the area you live in?
Now I'm not saying I hate my current base, I'm saying I really really don't like the Washington DC, Northern Virgina, Maryland area, also known locally as "The DMV."
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Marine veteran and male military spouse, Andrew Ferguson, has stepped outside his comfort zone to make a little money. He is selling Scentsy stuff. Guys, THIS is the type of creativity, determination, and courage it takes to be a successful business person as a miltiary spouse! When we asked how this new venture came about, this is what Andrew said:
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