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A whirlwind of activity

May 1, 2019

The past 10 days have been a whirlwind of activity

Last week I…

  • Travelled from Winnipeg to Ottawa on a house-hunting trip (HHT)
  • Looked at 3 different houses to rent and put in offers. The rental market in Ottawa is so intense that landlords choose who they want as tenants – and there can be bidding wars on some houses.
  • Wrote two articles for a special “Army Wife” project (details will be shared soon)
  • Wrote three articles for clients and did other client work.
  • Enjoyed some time with our older child who is finishing up at Carleton University in Ottawa.
  • Was successful in renting an excellent home thanks to my amazing realtor!

Our new home has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, a fenced backyard, and a garage. The location is quite a distance from downtown (60-minute bus ride for my husband to get to work) but the bus stop is at the end of the street and the shops are only a five-minute walk from the house.

When I returned to Winnipeg I…

  • Did the laundry.
  • Sold our garden shed. (kijiji.ca is amazing).
  • Prepared and submitted the HHT expenses with the relocation contractor.
  • Arranged for utilities to be disconnected and accounts closed in Winnipeg.
  • Opened accounts and arranged for utilities to be connected in Ottawa.
  • Took dog to vet for annual updates on vaccinations.
  • Booked doggy daycare for pack and load dates.
  • Booked appointment to switch out winter tires for summer tires on car.
  • Took vacuum cleaner across town to repair shop (inconvenient time for it to stop working!).
  • Did month-end financials for my business.
  • Wrote this blog post.

On top of his regular job, my husband booked the dates for the moving company because that has to be done through the military (Movements section) as well as submitted the Notice to Vacate to the Canadian Forces Housing Agency.

We have 21 days before the moving truck comes and 14 of those days, my husband will be training in Ottawa.

Wish me luck!

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

The Posting of 2019 Begins

March 2, 2019

army wife in Winnipeg in February In the few months that have passed since my last post, quite a few things have happened. I’m finally getting caught up with everything and have time to tell everyone what has been going on.

When we arrived in Winnipeg in 2017, we knew we would be moving in 2019. We just did not know where or exactly when. In January we received a screening message. My husband was scheduled to do a tour abroad. It is an unaccompanied tour meaning the family does not travel with him. This is fine because the area is not safe for civilians.

Even though only my husband is being posted, the entire family had to go through the screening process to ensure there would be no outstanding medical reasons for which he would need to be repatriated early. We had to visit our family doctors and have the medical forms signed. This presented a challenge to our younger daughter who has a Manitoba health card but is attending school in Ontario. Fortunately, our doctor in Winnipeg is amazing. Because he had just seen our daughter over the Christmas holidays, he agreed to fill out the forms for her after he talked to her on the telephone. (If you want his name, contact me. He really is good and I will miss having an excellent family doctor!)

My husband and I had an appointment with the military social worker to confirm that we were comfortable with this particular posting. Then we talked to the military doctors to review our medical files, and the screening message was given the green light.

My husband still had to go through several more steps, including updating his first aid training, firearms testing, and several vaccinations updates including typhoid and rabies. Yes rabies. Apparently, there are lots of feral cats and dogs in the area where he will be living.

walking dog in FebruaryThere is a condition to my husband going abroad for a full year. I requested – actually we requested – that I would be moved to Ottawa to be closer to the children. If anything happened to them while my husband was gone, it would be very difficult for me to help them from so far away. Additionally, if anything happened to me while he was gone, I have almost no support here in Winnipeg.

This proved true in February when my husband was in Ottawa on course and I ended up with a cold – a really bad cold that lasted almost three weeks! It didn’t help that I had to walk the dog at temperatures of -20ºC (-4ºF). A neighbour tried to walk the dog for me but he refused to leave the front step, “If mommy no go, I no go!”

Anyway, we are waiting for a posting message and we hope it comes soon so we can make our way to Ottawa and get settled before my husband goes abroad in July.

Wish us luck.

A decade of blogging — 27 years as an army wife

January 13, 2019

10 year anniversaryIn January 2009, I started this blog to document some of my journey as a military spouse. I don’t post as often as some military spouses who have blogs. I earn absolutely no income from this blog. The purpose of my blog was to share the intricacies of military life with family, friends, fellow military spouses, the public, and to bust some myths.

Many things have changed in the past 10 years. Even more has changed in the military over the past 27 years.

From the Past

Military Family Services

Back in 1991-1992, there were no Military Family Resource Centres (MFRC). Families were “looked after” by the unit. If there was a deployment, the Rear Party (military members not deployed) and the spouses looked after the families. It was challenging. Many of these people did not have the skill set to help, coach, and/or counsel families and civilian resources did not understand the military lifestyle. And, when spouses were involved, there was always the perception of favouritism and cliquishness. Sometimes that perception was justified!

The development of Military Family Services (MFS) and the MFRCs was a welcome change. Employees with specialized training (counsellors, etc.) and experience with the military lifestyle were available to help military families. MFS and the MFRCs are now a wealth of resources from child care and children’s education support, to spousal retraining and employment assistance. There is no bias because of the member’s rank or social group. Everyone gets the same treatment.

Housing

When we moved from CFB Valcartier to CFB Gagetown in 1995, the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) was just coming into existence. CFHA provided a consistent housing experience across Canada. There was planning for long-term maintenance and development of all units.

There are still issues with military housing — called residential housing units (RHUs). Most units were built in the 1950s and building standards (electrical, plumbing, insulation, structure) have changed significantly since then. Some old, structurally unsound houses are being demolished. Others are getting significant upgrades. Our house in Toronto at CFB Downsview (2005-2006) is gone. Many RHUs still only have one bathroom and a cold, poorly insulated basement that is subject to flooding/leaking. There are advantages and disadvantages to living in an RHU and to bust a frequently encountered myth, we do pay rent.

Communications

The internet and smart phones did not exist 27 years ago — at least they did not exist in the way they do today. Communication from your deployed spouse was via postal mail (2-week delivery) and one 5-minute phone call per week.

I used to think that it was amazing that technology had come so far because in my grandparents’ day, my grandmother only got letters delivered by postal mail about once per month from my grandfather fighting in WWII in Europe.

Social media, SMS, and ubiquitous internet for an extremely low cost, allow military families to communicate from wherever they are in the world. This has been extremely helpful for military children to stay in touch with their friends. Back in the day, frequent address and phone number changes meant that in two or three years, you would completely lose touch with people. Now we can just connect on a social media site regardless of where we live.

To the Present

Lots of great things have happened over the past year.

To the Future

We will likely be moving in spring/summer 2019. I have no idea where.

We really need to start thinking about retirement which will happen sometime after 2021. There is no fixed retirement date yet but at some point, we’ll have to choose a retirement location. We have no idea where that will be.

For certain, I will continue blogging.

Thank you to all of my readers, my family, and my friends who have supported me over the past 10 years. Cheers!

32 Years of Service

December 3, 2018

1 CAD Commander, MGen Christian Drouin with the assistance of 1 CAD CWO, CWO Jacques Boucher, present the Canadian Forces Decoration 2nd Clasp to Col Kevin Brown on Nov 27th, 2018 at 1 CAD, Winnipeg, MB. Photo By: Cpl Darryl Hepner, 17 Wing Imaging, Winnipeg

 

Last week my handsome husband received his Canadian Forces’ Decoration clasp for 32 years of service. I’m very proud of him for his hard work and commitment.

We have a few more years to go before retirement. We’re expecting to be posted to a new location in 2019.

Adventure awaits! Hoo-rah!

Relatable Quote

November 20, 2018


British actor John Boyega said:

There’s a difference between living somewhere and being part of somewhere.

I thought this was something many military families could relate to. Sometimes we don’t live in a city long enough to become part of the community. Sometimes the community is very different from what we are used to and we have a hard time integrating. Maybe we have been away from our home towns for so long that when we go back, we don’t feel like we’re a part of that community either.

What techniques do you use to become “part of somewhere” instead of just “living somewhere”? Have you ever felt that because you will be moving again very soon that it is not worth becoming part of somewhere?

Leaving the nest part 2

September 8, 2018

heartbroke bitmogiI wrote this post while on a flight from Ottawa to Winnipeg, choking back tears. Our youngest child has left home for post-secondary education in Ontario. Our oldest one has started the fourth and final year of university, also in Ontario. They have each taken a piece of my heart with them.

Although I am sad for myself, I cannot help but be happy for them as they begin this new and exciting journey through higher education.

The youngest is living away from home without parents around for the first time.

The oldest has one more year in school then a big decision — finding employment or continue working towards a Masters and PhD.

Becoming an adult is scary, sad, exciting, stressful, and anxiety provoking but I know they are strong and they can do it.

The question is, can I get through this?

Summer Summary 2018

August 24, 2018

Other than our outing to Folklorama, I haven’t written too much about my life so far this summer. It has been pretty busy. Here is a quick summary.

June 2018

Our youngest graduated from high school, got accepted into Business Administration at St. Lawrence College in Kingston.

20180713_blood_driveJuly 2018

My virtual assistant business started booming as I picked up two new clients.

I attended the local blood donation drive.

August 2018

Our dryer broke. The control panel is fried. The technician isn’t sure how it happened unless it was triggered by a power surge. Also, the washing machine needs repairs as it is leaking internally but not enough for us to notice water dripping out the bottom. However, when the technician moved the washer to access the dryer — there was the water. I figure by the time the repairs are complete, I could have purchased an entirely new set.

Lesson learned: do not buy expensive appliances. They don’t last any longer than cheap ones. Of course, it might be due to the fact that the movers dragged them down three flights of stairs, transferred them from one moving truck to another and hauled them from Texas to Manitoba. It doesn’t matter. It is way too late to claim damages on the move.

20180807_cone_of_shameOur dog Rebel, broke off a dew claw while running in the long grass. They had to sedate him to remove the broken claw and he was in a bandage for 3 days. He wasn’t happy but was well-behaved as he hates the cone of shame.

I’m going to visit both kids in Ontario before they start the school year. It isn’t really going to be a vacation as we’ve got to deal with banking, insurance, and other administrative details but at least I get to see the kids.