Thursday, June 19, 2008

The long and short of it... or, it's all in your perspective

The hubs is currently running around the house, gathering most of his worldly possessions, getting them ready to load onto a C-130 pallet in the morning. He's heading out to "Man Camp" (aka AVSUPFAC Cordova) for another exciting week of remote SAR duty. On a side note, "remote" is relative, I guess... I'd call Kodiak remote, but Cordova is remoter (No, that's not a word, but I'm using it anyway.). But I digress... He just got back from his first week out there last Friday, and, after a short week at home, is going back for round two. During his 7 days home this week, he also had 2 duty nights after picking up an extra one for someone else.

As I shared this week of weirdness between two trips with a friend of mine (I really don't feel like I saw much of him this week, even though I took some leave Monday to spend time with him), she said to me, "Well, at least he was home a little bit." The context to her comment is that her husband is underway right now, and she's hoping he'll get home as scheduled in order to make it on the ferry that's taking them away on their PCS from Kodiak. She had three different sets of packers to organize, a house to clean, check out to do, and she's in a hotel room with a toddler... alone. Now there's some perspective.

But it got me thinking... Which is better? One long trip? Or a couple short trips? What about a couple short trips with a crappy duty schedule in between? My answer? It depends, and it's all in your perspective.

For some reason, the hubs's first week in Cordova hit me, well, "hard" isn't the right word, but, I guess, just harder than normal. Which is weird. I mean, I've been doing this for a while now, both being left behind and being the one doing the leaving. We spent three years not living together, and we once saw each other for 8 hours between the end of my patrol and the beginning of his, for Pete's sake, why was a week so hard? I can't really answer that question, but I can say that it's not normally like that. I'm normally the person who'd rather just get used to being alone, get into a groove, and get on with my life. To me, having a "visit" in the middle just makes things worse. I get the fun of seeing him again after only a week (YAY!), but then the week at home is spent just getting ready to go again (running around the house at the last minute not-withstanding!). Who wants to deal with that?

My friend does right now, I'd guess. I think she would've been thrilled if her husband could've come home to deal with at least one of the packing days, or maybe to clean the bathroom before the housing inspection. I think she would've just taken any time they could've gotten together over the past couple months, and yet I complain about a crappy week between a mere two weeks of time away from home (at least this time around).

I won't say it's been all grumpiness having him home (who else was going to mow the lawn and get the fresh beer in the keg?), but it definitely bumped me off my game. The first week he was gone was weird, the week he's been home seemed like two days, and I'm just gearing myself up for another bad week (or not... I hope not!). Usually, he goes, I'm peeved the first morning he's gone because I forgot to set the coffee pot the night before and I have to get up earlier to feed the dog, and then I settle into a routine and actually enjoy the time alone (gasp!) But when I explained my perspective to my friend, she shrugged, probably thinking I was insane!

So, which is better? A long trip, or a couple of short ones? I really hope I'm not the only weird one who'd rather just get it all over with at once! So what's your perspective?


Amber said...

For me, with the kids and everything, I'd kind of rather the one long trip. I think the small break in between makes it worse.

When the hubby was underway in April, they ended up coming back into port for the weekend. I hadn't been weepy at all with him gone - I just got in a groove and got down to business. The weekend he was home, I just kept thinking about the fact that he was about to leave again. Not to mention the fact that I knew I'd have to gear the kids up for him being gone again.

I do think your friend's circumstances are a little different. I know I'd give anything to have help during a PCS. Oy.

Hugs, friend.

Just a Girl in a Port said...

I feel that the long trips are better. With my husband's current stint, his short trips are often extended or cut short. It's hard to plan. I know that's how it goes, but it can be rather annoying at times. And, I'm not even talking about just for me. It's tough on the kids when he comes and goes at irregular intervals, and he dislikes the fluctuation (as far as I can tell).

Overall, a rhythm (like so many weeks out and so many weeks in) is more desirable for me. As much as I like having him home, his ashore duty is hardly anything but "home all the time". He travels quite a bit, and like I said, there's no rhythm to it. I miss that about cutter life. You can establish a routine and rarely have hiccups in the middle of a patrol--at least not like we have now.

Flo said...

Great post Becca! I'm a long trip kinda girl myself, probably by virtue of being a 378 girlfriend for three years. I like that I have the opportunity to fall into my own habits and get used to him being gone, rather than constantly needing to adjust my schedule to spend time with him. Plus, you can't beat that in port schedule between trips! :)

Emily said...

You know, I've totally thought about this before. I really hate the long periods of time my husband is gone (378 wife here!) and don't feel like I will ever get the hang of it, so to speak. As for what's worse, long or short trips, I agree that it's all in your perspective. I think it boils down to the fact that seperation is what it is, and if it's one week or 4's just plain hard. There have been times when I've lifted my head out of my 378 tunnel vision and realized that every single one of us military spouses go through the same basic struggles. Just because my husband is gone for 3 months at a time doesn't mean it's any easier for a spouse who has to deal with multiple, shorter seperations. I appreciate that and find some comfort knowing that I'm not alone and certainly not the only one that is dealing with the difficulties of this life. Somehow, when I'm able to see the bigger picture like that, it makes me feel proud to be a military spouse and gives me the courage and strength to keep on keepin' on! :)

Who I Am said...

I would much prefer one long stint out. Sure, it would suck, but it sucks now too. Shoot, he's been gone this week and he's actually not deployed, just at work all the time! For me, it's harder.

The kids see him and then they don't - and they don't sleep and they cry constantly. When he is home, the boy won't let daddy out of his sight, meaning daddy doesn't get a break either and we don't have alone time.

If he could just go for one long stint, I'd be able to set a routine and get through. I cried after he walked out the door last night for yet another duty b/c I miss my husband. I told him I'd rather him just be gone for the entire summer. He didn't know how to take that, but I think he understands.

The FlyingFish said...

I guess I'm not crazy! Don't get me wrong - I miss him when he's gone, terribly! But the coming and going just toys with my emotions!