Any military family knows that “the mission” ALWAYS come before family, friends, pets, fun, etc. As a spouse, that can be the most frustrating thing ever. I’m lucky that, because of Mike’s current job, he is able to come home for the really big disasters (like when our dishwasher flooded the place), but the day to day stuff? Yea, I’m on my own. I’ll take what I can get, because I know that in a short while that will be changing to something more unknown.
So. As a spouse, I’ll take whatever time with my hunky G.I. Joe I can get. Last weekend that came in the form of ATC (or Annual Training Conference). We left Shannon with her Nana at the butt crack of dawn Friday morning and away we went!
We arrived at our hotel, checked in, and Mike headed to the training location. Spouses and soliders had two different training programs for Friday and Saturday. I opted to stay back on Friday, as none of the spouse training was of great importance to me. Instead I got to meet up for a special day of lunch and shopping with my Grandparents. (Hi Grandma!) We had a great time at the Olive Garden for lunch and I enjoyed the hunt for the perfect outfit with my Grandma. 🙂
After a wonderful afternoon, my Grandparents dropped me back off at the hotel, and I had about 2 hours before my hunk was returned to me. I tried to spend that time napping, enjoying a book on my Kindle (what a thought!), and/or watching TV. However, much landscaping (it’s December… y’all!) was going on, and peaceful it was not.
After Mike got back, he did a quick change into his civvies (not uniform!) and we headed to meet the rest of his station for dinner at Cici’s. I’d never been to one, and I don’t think that my life will be any worse should I never go back again. We had about two hours before the company party, so we buggered off to the two story mall and wandered. It was nice to have time with him to chat, goof off, and hold hands. (Technically, men in uniform are not allowed to hold hands with spouses, in the event that they need to salute or do other military-esque duties. Mike will ‘escort’ me.)
The company party was wonderful, and it was nice to see all the other men from the stations that make up the company. (I also got a crash course in stations makes up a company, companies make up a battalion, and battalions make up uhh… I’ll get back to you…;))
Saturday morning we both trundled off to our respective training’s. Mike to his thing, and me with the spouses that had opted to go to the AFTB (Army Family Team Building… I learned so much!). It was great. I learned more than I could have hoped for and made a few new friends in the process. 🙂
Then it was go time! We were released to get ready for the exciting part of the weekend. The ball!
I also learned that some places don’t take cash tips. (?!?!?!)
Once my hair masterpiece was finished, it was back to the hotel to get dressed! I’m happy to say that I did my make up ALL BY MYSELF. If you know me, you know that this is a big deal.
Off we went to the hotel! Military balls are rich with traditions and I soaked up every one. There was a lot of hurry up and wait while we were waiting to get started, but I chatted with my new girlfriends, met some of Mike’s co-workers, and asked wayyyy too many questions. (What does that mean on his uniform? Why does he have a red cord not a blue one? Etc.) Once we got through the receiving line (without incident…whoot!) and the slew of traditions began I was *almost* overwhelmed. Mike had to stand at attention through a lot of my questions, so I couldn’t actually ask any of them. 😉 It was a great experience for me, and I’m so glad that I got to go! Our table mates were a blast, and had me laughing all night, even through some of the drier part of the evening.
It was so fun to get dressed up with my hubby! He is a handsome devil in those blues.
After we were released, there was dancing, but we didn’t partake. Most of our friends were going to a local karaoke bar. We decided instead to go see Skyfall. My feet were killing me in my shoes, and we wanted to spend as much time together as possible. We zipped back to the hotel, changed into comfortable clothes and hit up the movie. We ended up not getting back to the hotel until 2am, regretting our choice just a bit, as we had to get up at 6 the next morning for the Strong Bonds class we were required to attend before returning home.
We suited up Sunday morning, after a quick zip through McD’s for coffee, then took our seats.
The military lifestyle is tough. Strong Bonds was designed to help soldiers and their spouses to learn to reconnect and strengthen their marriage, which falls by the wayside to “the mission.” The Chaplin chose a movie (which was seriously entertaining, and enlightened me to a lot!) and a book.
It was great. I’m in the process of re-reading the book (which is very similar to his lecture).
It did run long. 5 hours long. That’s a long time to sit, and I tried to remain focused on the message that was being presented to us. We did fall prey to moments of wigglyness.
We took a lot away from it, including yummy lunch!
We had a great weekend, full of learning, but were were so happy to get home to this face!
And this one (although Mike was a little bit more excited about the former. ;))