It feels so good to be home again, even though we have been a bit stressed out over the past few days. On Wednesday evening, Matt and I got some rather unsettling news (is that even the right way to describe this?) that seems to have turned our little world upside down.
I know I have told you before that when we were in DC, Matt was in the Army. He got out at the end of September 2008; we moved here so that he could start graduate school. For those of you who may not speak Army, Matt's contract was really eight years long - four years of active duty, and four years of Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). IRR was initially started so that, in case of an extreme emergency, soldiers could be recalled to assist. Then, Iraq started, and Bush decided that soldiers could be recalled to active duty from IRR just for, you know, whatever.
Fast forward to Wednesday. Matt received orders recalling him from IRR to active duty; his orders are for Iraq. The shock of all of this has started to pass, I think, so I'll get right down to the details.
As of now, he has a report date of November 1 to Fort Benning. He will be deploying with a National Guard EOD unit out of New York, and while his orders say Iraq, there is a chance they are actually heading to Kuwait. Of course, that could also turn into Afghanistan, too. We have to remain open to all possibilities at this time. The deployment is "not to exceed 400 days" so he will likely be gone for around a year.
Since Matt is supposed to be starting graduate school in just a few weeks, he is applying for an educational deferment in hopes that he'll be able to complete the semester and then go in December. To be honest, I'm not super hopeful that this will happen, but...who knows. If he can't get the deferment, then obviously he can't start school and will have three more months of sitting around and waiting.
Okay. Now that the details are out of the way...I guess I'll go ahead and tell you that I am having a really hard time with this. I am trying to put a positive spin on the whole situation, mostly because there's absolutely nothing we can do about it, so why waste time complaining? I don't want to complain. But - I am scared, worried, nervous, and I feel very alone. I went from zero to Army wife overnight, something I was never expecting. And - I don't know what I'm doing. We weren't married when Matt was active duty. I came to the realization over the past few days that I just don't know anything about all of this. I feel so...out of the loop. I think that it's even harder that Matt is an IRR soldier...basically meaning that we're nowhere near a military base or establishment, at all. There's no community here. Nobody here is even IN the military. Ahh, I don't think much of this is making sense, and I'm sorry. To be honest, I just thought I'd lay all of my fears and discomforts out on the table here.
After doing some internet research (thanks, Google!), I did learn that there is an FRG-type group specifically for families of mobilized IRR soldiers. Whew. What a relief. I didn't realize how nice it would feel to know that someone will be calling me to check up and just keep me informed. And I am so thankful that my wonderful friend Jenn has been through this twice. And thanks so much to d.a.r., who I emailed frantically the night Matt got his orders. She was so quick to respond with a calm note and some advice.
Well, this has got to be one of the most poorly-organized blog posts I've ever written! Many, many apologies. Just had to get this out there. It seems like all Matt and I can talk about is IRAQ IRAQ IRAQ and DEPLOYMENT DEPLOYMENT DEPLOYMENT. Isn't it strange how something seemingly so foreign becomes the new normal? All of a sudden, we are making pre-deployment to-do lists ranging from downgrading his car insurance to canceling his cell phone to eating at our fave sushi restaurant to driving an hour out to the nearest military installation to get me a military dependent ID card. Whew. It all seems a little bit crazy to me.
So. That's that. Oh, and did I mention that I have over 800 unread posts on my Reader? Sheesh. Talk about stressful.