Things are tough in all branches of the military at the moment, and while we're less affected by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq than most, we're feeling it too in these rapid and frequent deployments. Dominic goes back to Qatar in June for another 60 days. The deployment after that will happen in October, but the good news is that he will probably either go to England or Greece--which is exciting for us both because I will be able to visit him. Right now we're hoping that he won't be gone over Christmas. We don't think he will. But I've learned to be perpetually dubious when it comes to his deployment schedule. But even within Dominic's career field, among our friends he works with, our situation is both worse and better. I know some wives who have been with their husbands a total of maybe a month since the new year, and I know other officers who have deployed just once and aren't on any lists to go immediately back. Still, Dominic's here now. I'm finished with school for the semester and have decided not to take classes or work this summer, so I can be free to spend some uninterrupted time with him.
I feel very resentful about a lot of things sometimes. Mostly it has to do with our current situation in Iraq and our seeming inability to take care of Americans at home. I'm also very unhappy with the way I see people in the military being treated right now. I specifically mean the very small cross-section I have witnessed by observing what is happening to Dominic and his co-workers. These are good, hardworking men and women. The government spent millions of dollars training them...each. And they are not being treated very well in return. I cannot say whose fault it is. I suspect the situation is rooted in the very highest tiers of governmental authority. That means that everyone else is in a Catch-22, quite literally.
Let me qualify this all by saying that I have a very limited perspective of...just about everything. And I don't speak for anyone but myself, not even Dominic. I'm proud of him and I'm grateful to the Air Force for being able to provide Dominic with the opportunity to do so many good things in his life, to achieve so much. I think he would agree with me when I say that being in the Air Force has been the defining experience of his adult life. So many qualities I love about Dominic--his extroversion, his natural leadership skills, his ability to work hard, his relentless friendliness--are qualities that have been exacerbated by his being in the Air Force so long. I am grateful to live in a country that has institutions that can be so positive for people, but you know, things are just hard lately. Most have it worse than us.
Anyway, please know that my voice can only speak for my own experience. To end more optimistically, here are a few things Dominic and I have planned before he leaves, and also a few things I have planned for myself after her goes:
We're taking a road trip to Pittsburgh, PA! Dominic has a TDY (temporary duty...basically a work-related trip) from the 22nd through the 25th of May, and we've decided to make a vacation out of it. We're leaving early and driving out there, and on the way we're stopping in Chicago, Sandusky, Iowa (home of Cedar Point, a big amusement park), and Cleveland. We don't have our itinerary completely planned out yet, but that's the basic plan.
Perhaps visiting a local vineyard.
I'm going to be visiting my sister in Birmingham during July. I hope we can drive down to Panama City Beach or Fort Walton for a couple days.
I hope to be visiting Brooke and Dale in New Orleans during the end of the summer. I guess I need to start talking to them about that.
So those are all positive things...and I might even be taking a few more trips besides those. Summer 2007 is the summer of travel for me. One of the very few good things about Dominic being gone is I'm learning how to act a little more like an adult. As little as a year ago, all this travel would have intimidated me too much to attempt by myself...but I'm learning to take care of myself better in his absence. I'm bolder, less likely to let being afraid stop me from trying new things.