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Military families go through a time in every move that we call limbo - it's a time when we realize that the assignment we are on will soon be over but we have no clue what our next assignment will be. Normally, this period of time is pretty short and we use it to make pipe dreams and think about all the possibilities that might be. But every once in a while, limbo gets drawn out and it begins to feel more and more like hell. The closer the date to leave a place comes, the worse the not knowing feels. The stress begins to build and the physical symptoms start to grow... and not just for the adults, for kids as well. Kids not old enough to understand are like metal detectors but instead of finding precious gold, they hone in on their parents' worries. Older kids can create their own stress and feel that of their parents. It's a vicious circle when families can't get a handle on it and the stress just continues to build and build.

Well, that is where my family has been the last few weeks, in limbo. No more...

Yesterday, we finally received the good news. Now, good news for military folks is always accompanied by the caveat, "We don't have orders yet." That means no one has signed the little piece of paper we need to start putting our plans in place - we cannot schedule the movers or give notice to the landlord, and it makes sense not to start investigating the new assignment too heartily as it could change. It's not likely to, but it could. This has happened to us once before - a beautiful assignment to Elmendorf AFB, Alaska turned into an okay assignment at Nellis AFB, Nevada. Such is military life.

But it does mean that my nightmares can take a break and the upset stomach will tone itself down. It means my oldest son's symptoms will lessen as well. He takes after me and stress means holding it all inside our chests and stomachs - we get classic symptoms that mimic nervous coughs or heart burn (both side affects of stomach acid in the throat). Not knowing can be a killer, in more ways than one. The imagination runs wild - What if that next assignment is one that separates us? What if he gets sent back to Afghanistan? What if we get stationed where there isn't a great community? What if, what if, what if...

You would think that after 20 years, I would have it under control, but I don't. And military spouses around the world all handle it differently. I envy those that can rid their stress at the gym or in other healthy ways. We try, but it still builds up until we just think we can't take it anymore. And then we manage to make it another day at a time. Not unlike hiking the Inca Trail 5 steps at a time... we just do what we have to do.

But as of yesterday, no more what ifs about where we are going. Now we can finally focus on the what ifs that apply to a specific place... two places actually. Our assignment is a two-fold one much like the one that brought us here to Argentina. We will be spending a year in Washington DC while my husband receives more training (any DC Kossacks out there that might know of a good place for a family of four to rent for a year? Or a decent used car to buy? Prius or other hybrid preferred!) with a follow on assignment to Quito, Ecuador in 2013. Yes, I will be able to write more travel diaries about South America! My boys and my husband and I should all be fluent in Spanish in another year or two and I am absolutely thrilled.

My husband joined the military because he loved the idea of public service. I, however, loved the idea of travel. My military life with my dad taught me the joys of moving (and the stresses as well) and I get the proverbial itchy feet every couple of years. Well, my husbands' latest assignments have been anything but boring and I have gotten more than my fair share of travel. And now we are going to get a little more!

¡Que suerte por la familia angelajean!

Originally posted to A Progressive Military Wife on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 04:01 AM PST.

Also republished by Military Community Members of Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm happy to share news with friends... (35+ / 0-)

    And I am happy to call so many of your here at DKos friends. I never thought this community could mean so much to be, but it does. Thanks for being there for me!

    If anyone ever asks if you know a military family, you can proudly tell them yes!

  •  These sound like dream orders!! (11+ / 0-)

    You can tolerate DC for a year with the promised reward of Quito, Ecuador to follow.  It sounds wonderful.  I'm so happy for you and your family.

    Fate has a way in our never know.  You may be one day be starring in a Travel Channel or NatGeo show on travel in South America one day soon!

    Congratulations and best of everything to you and your lovely family.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 04:13:37 AM PST

  •  You Can Find My Email (9+ / 0-)

    via my profile, but this one is the best way to get a hold of me.

    tommy at

    Drop me a line. I wouldn't say I could offer much direct help with housing, since the city has changed a lot in the 10 years since I lived there. But I know the city well and there is so much, so much to do that isn't in the tourist guide.

    You could spend a lifetime and never do it all.

    And since I know you and your family like to hike, you have got that in spades as well. People often forget you are like 30 minutes from large sections of the Appalachian Trail.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 04:33:13 AM PST

  •  Congrats !! (7+ / 0-)

    The subway is awesome there !!
    Gee I might even get to meet you in person. I think there will be a trip to DC this year for some kind of event on the Mall before the election !

  •  You will have to find a way to ... (5+ / 0-)

    Hop over to the Galapagos from Quito!

    I really must find a good sig line!

    by Rileycat on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 06:09:01 AM PST

    •  Already dreaming about it! (7+ / 0-)

      My youngest son's hero is Charles Darwin. We couldn't not go to the Galapagos!

      •  Just some residents who will be waiting for you: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, G2geek


        I really must find a good sig line!

        by Rileycat on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 11:18:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That year in DC is going to be a long time... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rileycat, Actbriniel

          I can't wait to take this trip!

          I assume you have already gone? Any recommendations on what time of year or a tour agency... I hear you have to go with a guide so that the wildlife is protected.

          •  We went a few years ago ... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            with an outfit called Natural Habitat Adventures. I would recommend Nathab any day, but they basically operate out of the States. I assume you could hook up with them in Quito, but don't think it will be necessary. I suspect you will have no problem researching and finding good agencies from there. Matter of fact, once there, you can probably arrange your own flight and meet up with a boat there.

            You are right - you can't land on most of the islands (basically the ones that are not inhabited) without a guide. Further, there's a maximum of 10 visitors per guide. We were on a boat with a capacity of 20 and two guides. There are bigger boats and some smaller, but I'd stay away from the biggest ones because, if they don't have a guide for every 10 people, not everyone will be able to land at the same time.

            There also is a limit on the number of tour boats that can operate and the boats are not totally masters of their own fate. They are licensed to follow certain routes and make certain landfalls and can't change that without petitioning the government. This keeps the most popular spots from being totally overun. But you should check the specific itinerary beforehand. On the plus side, my guess would be the limits mean there aren't a lot of bad operators.

            Finally, one nice thing is that the Galapagos are on the equator and in the middle of some big-time ocean currents; the Humboldt, El Nino, etc. that moderate the climate. Therefore, I understand there's really no better time to visit. A year round joy! Being in Quito already (when you are) you may be able to arrange to visit in otherwise low-tourism times and have more solitude and save money.

            I really must find a good sig line!

            by Rileycat on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 11:53:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  With any luck at all you could be a neighbor to (6+ / 0-)

    Noweaselslong thought of as one of the nicest people on the internet. I believe her father was a Navy Admiral. I'll send you a kos-mail with her e-mail.

    With that news comes the standard question: are you attending Net Roots Nation this June in Providence, RI?

    Welcome home and thank you and each member of your family for your service.

    One war ended. Bring those still in Afghanistan home NOW. The Afghans do not want us there, either.

    by llbear on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 06:53:46 AM PST

  •  So happy for you (6+ / 0-)

    angelajean.  First, that you will be staying together and will not be in harm's way, and second that you'll be in the States and in good places.

    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 07:19:06 AM PST

  •  Prince William (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, ms badger, Renee

    Hi Angelajean,

    I am a Navy retiree living south of D. C., in Prince William County, Virginia, proximate to Quantico and Ft. Belvoir.  If I can be of any use let me know; ( If your husband is actually going to be working in the District, the commute will be agony from here, I know because I drive up to Georgetown Hospital t see my oncologist every few weeks.


  •  Oh angelajean! That is so awesome. Out of all the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, angelajean

    unschoolers I know you guys have the most exciting life. I'm really glad that it will keep your husband away from Afghanistan too. I would like to see us start using diplomacy more and our troops less for conflict now.

    Hey! This means you will get to make friends with OccupyDC too.

    Thanks for writing about the way nerves affect your family too. We are going through this hideous divorce and it breaks my heart seeing the kids go through it. I have to keep reminding myself that stress is part of life. I'm one of those over-responsible mothers who wants to protect the kids from everything. sigh.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 08:39:42 AM PST

    •  It's hard to find a balance, isn't it? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Renee, Actbriniel

      When the stress gets to be too much, we try to find things to take our minds off of it. Sometimes that means mindless stuff... it's one of the few times we turn to the TV. Our latest fix has been the Star Trek series, Enterprise. We love Star Trek. Enterprise isn't our favorite (I hate Capt. Archer) but it has intriguing characters, even if some what stuck in a sexist timewarp, and makes for interesting conversations later. It certainly helped take our mind of not knowing.

      I hope you find some ways to reduce stress for you and the kids. Something fun! Unschooling can get in the way, can't it? All that time to figure out what to do and the only things you can focus on are the problems at hand. Sometimes a little forced schooling can be in order... like a forced field trip or something :)

      •  Yes, field trips help. We also watch tv, and we (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        amuse ourselves with little inside jokes from what we are watching. Once in awhile (though sadly, not lately) we take off on camping trips.

        Poverty = politics.

        by Renee on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 09:21:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Camping is our escape during deployment. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Renee, Actbriniel

          When my husband got back from the last two deployments, the last thing he wanted to do was camp so the boys and I really pack it in while we can.

          Our trip to Patagonia will be a camping trip. We haven't car camped with my husband for a long time. And this will be car camping with only minimal equipment... more like backpacking with a car! I hope he can get into the spirit! My youngest has already told me he is looking forward to washing dishes... he loves camping because it gets cold at night and in the mornings and the dishwasher gets to put their hands in the hot water!

          •  Oh that is so sweet! My kids resist chores (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            although with much more grace than they used to.

            In my youth I was a snob about car camping. But now I love it. So easy to just be out in the world. Our last trip was so glorious. We went up the 395 in California and hit Manzanar and the Bristle Cone Pines and Bodie and hot springs near Bridgeport. We camped just outside of Bishop and I hauled out my roadside geology book and we learned about the slip faults in that area and it was glorious.

            Poverty = politics.

            by Renee on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 09:41:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Homeschooling in DC is awesome (3+ / 0-)

    Please consider Arlington as part of "in the city".  I lived and raised kids there: the pluses of suburbs + the metro ride to the Smithsonian.  

    The Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington has a fantastic teen-led youth group that encourages progressive thought and social justice work.  And you wouldn't be the first military family to attend.

    Based on what you've said, I shouldn't check with our tenants in Manassas about their plans?  

    I'm now half way across the country, but still have clients in the area, so I'm there fairly regularly.  I hope to be able to meet!

    •  I would be thrilled to meet you, EclecticCrafter! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I hope business does bring you to DC.

      Do you mind if I ask how long the Metro ride is from Manassas to the city center? It might be worth consideration. We'll also be looking for a community college near the house and the possiblity of a job for a 16 year old that speaks two languages :) Manassas might be an option.

      •  Unfortunately, Manassas is bus to metro (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to DC and I'll have to wait until Mr. Crafter wakes up from his nap to ask him how long it took.  My guess is at least 45 min.  (I think there was a bus directly to the Pentagon w/o a transfer to Metro, as well.)

        We homeschooled my daughter for high school two years in Arlington, two in Manassas.  The nice part about Manassas was because the community was more conservative, there was more support for homeschooling (even though we weren't conservative homeschoolers).  In Arlington, you can only take "core" classes at the high school; in Manassas, you could take electives.  So she got to take band the last two years in Manassas, which she couldn't do in Arlington.

        Both have relatively easy access to Community College.  Warning:  when we took my daughter, as a sophomore(?) to sign up for Biology at the CC, we had to have an interview with the Dean.  He proceeded to lecture her on two fronts:  1) You'll be in college now, don't think you're so smart! 2) Don't flirt with the guys, you're jail-bait.  Unfortunately for the Dean's self image, she did bust the curve in her bio class, and one of the reasons she wanted to homeschool was that all her friends were going boy crazy and she just wanted to learn stuff (late bloomer).

        In Arlington, she could walk to the Metro and get downtown on her own, if she wanted to.  In Manassas, I usually drove her to the Metro (the bus schedules support business commuters, not tourists) or all the way to town.

        Price differential is huge.  We couldn't afford to buy in Arlington, rented for years.  We bought in Manassas two months before the bubble burst (hence upside down mortgage, hence landlords even though we'd rather sell).  Don't know what the rental market is now inside the Beltway (Arlington, Falls Church, parts of Alexandria).  It hasn't recovered to what it was in Manassas yet.  Our tenants' lease is up in March/April.  Don't know their plans/haven't done our inspection yet.

        You've got my e-addy, let me know if you want more info.  My daughter's already out of college, so my homeschooling info is old ... but I could look up some old contacts.

      •  Mr. Crafter woke up and confirmed that there (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        is a bus from Manassas to the Pentagon (and it's Metro stop).  It took 35 - 45 minutes depending on traffic.  A hybrid also helps with that commute as the Car Pool lanes (known in DC by a TLA (three letter Acronym) HOV - High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes) are also open to Motorcycles and registered hybrids.

        School at McNair?  Hubby says it wouldn't be a great commute for McNair.  DC would be best commute-wise but tough to afford. Arlington (blue), Alexandria (blue/red), Falls Church (red) easier to afford, reasonable commutes.  Fairfax, Prince William (both red) more difficult commutes affordability varies.

        I'm not as up on the affordability of the Maryland suburbs.  Our ex's with joint custody were VA residents so we stayed on that side of the river.

        •  We still need to figure out where school is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but I doubt it is McNair. It will be State Department connected.

          I think we're willing to take smaller in the city in order not to have the commute. We've made that choice in the past and always been happy. I will at least look first before we branch further out :) I like webranding's suggestion of Eastern Market. We'll see what we can afford. Of course, it's a little early to be looking - we would plan to move in June, I think. Our stuff could  take 12 weeks from here to DC and I hate to be in a house with only essentials for too long. It's a balancing act!

          Thanks for all the info though. We also have friends at Bolling who homeschool. I think until we know where we live though, I won't do too much homework on the support groups. Better to find something close and if nothing exists, it won't be the first time we've had to figure it out!

  •  Sounds like a good gig (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Mrs. CendoJr and I are starting to piece together the puzzle of how the next tour / next part of the career is going to shake out.  I've got five different career options with the acceptance boards spread out until 2013, so sometime between March and December we'll learn my fate.  Nothing like hanging out all year wondering what's next.  

    War doesn't determine who is right, only who is left. Better be left so you can determine later if you were right.

    by Cendojr on Sat Feb 11, 2012 at 03:35:43 PM PST

    •  Do I ever sympathize! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We had similar things going on - two different career fields and a recent promotion to Colonel and not knowing who was arguing to keep him the most. I was honestly believing we wouldn't learn until March, when we were actually originally supposed to leave. They kindly allowed him to tack on some leave so we are a breathing a little easier on departure. He has 22 use or lose and I just can't stand to lose leave. It makes me sick when that happens.

      Good luck on the next assignment... I hope it's what you want! (ps - the one job my husband didn't want and got anyway was the best one of his career... it set him up for where we are today)

  •  Congrats! (0+ / 0-)

    I didn't get a chance to see this until a couple of days late (don't ask), but it sounds like there's stars in your future.

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