Some discussion around my and another blogger’s blog as well as on a MilSpouse board I frequent got me to thinking to back when I was new to both being a wife and being around the military in general. It was definitely a different world than what I was dealing with at the time but hey I figured I could figure it out.
So here’s 5 things I remember back when I was new:
1. The Military Wives Handbook was actually useful – twice. Once for addressing invitations to military personnel and as a doorstop (it’s current occupation).
2. “Texas Casual” or “BBQ Casual” is not what I thought it was. I showed up at a Spouses welcome BBQ of a new Group Commander’s wife in jeans, nice shoes and nice shirt. Everyone else was apparently thought that it meant skirts, heels and silk blouses – boy did I feel stupid, I should have worn my Stetson!
3. I wondered if I would ever learn all of the acronyms that were being thrown at me & ponder why in the hell did the Army create so many of them in the first place! Now I know some that even my spouse didn’t know.
4. I remember a time where speaking up and defending myself a little too loudly caused my spouse and I to be shunned faster than a naughty Mennonite. None of these folks are even in the Army anymore, including the girl who cried “foul” when I told her to stay the hell out of my business and stop talking crap about me unless it was to my face.
5. I remember my first experience with a Spouse’s Club meeting – it has tainted my view ever since. While sitting quietly in a meeting, taking notes and putting faces to memory, one young woman came up to me and said, “I’m so glad you could come, especially since we voted you in.” Voted me in? WTF? I was a fiancé at the time and apparently they voted if I could join their little shin-dig or not. Apparently fiancés could come and go and they didn’t want to invite them if they weren’t going to actually get married.
This did NOT go over well with me. My pledge days were long since over and I found this separatist attitude to be really off-putting. I attended a few more coffees and decided that this group was so NOT for me. (This was the same group that eventually participated in number 4).
Finally, I have come to terms with spouse coffees. After this bad experience, I have had several good ones with a random not so good experience. Because the good experiences out number the bad, I accept each new coffee group on a “trial” basis. I don’t like separating folks based on rank and those that make it such a big deal that my best friend is an “insert rank here” spouse’s wife are just not people I want to spend my time with. If the coffee is a group full of the aforementioned then I find folks outside the coffee to spend my time with.
So you veterans of the MilSpouse world, what five things do you remember when you were new?