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Why Imposed Restriction is sometimes necessary

2019-07-04

General’s apartment rental tab picked up by taxpayers for the last seven years

This article in the National Post by David Pugliese caught my attention – and made me rather angry. I’ve written about Imposed Restriction (IR)before as well as the 2012 budget cuts to IR.

I do not know LGen Wynnyk. I do not know his family. However, after reading his official biography, I can understand what his family has endured.

So, to journalist David Pugliese, let me describe the family perspective for you and perhaps you’ll understand why IR is not a “perk.”

Military families are expected to pick up and move whenever the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) says so. We give up our homes, our jobs, our friends, and family. This is not easy for us. We are not employed by the military and yet, we are expected to serve. Many people say, “Oh it’s your choice you married a military member.” Well, I ask you, would you give up someone you love, the parent of your children, just because they get a new job in a new city? Really think about that. If you’re thinking yes, maybe your marriage/partnership isn’t as strong as you think.

Let me tell you Mr. Pugliese some of the other reasons a military member might choose IR. As I am sure you are aware, it is a challenge for many Canadians to find a family doctor. Imagine never having one. Imagine being on a waitlist so long that you move to another city before you get referred to a doctor. Now, imagine that you have a spouse or a child that has special medical needs. Now, imagine dealing with all of that far away from a support network of family and friends – and possibly in another language. Imposed Restriction allows the member to move so the family can remain in one place and have consistent medical care.

For a military member to move, spouses (and children) quit their jobs. Many do not meet the criteria to collect employment insurance. They either did not work the required number of weeks because they did not live at that location long enough, or they had to work part-time because the military member’s job was so demanding. And what about daycare you ask? Finding quality, affordable daycare in a new city is like winning the lottery. Waitlists are long – so long in fact, that you might be posted out before your children get placed.

This assumes that spouses have a job to resign from. Many spouses are unemployed. If you are posted to a part of the country where you don’t speak the language it is almost impossible to get a job. Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs) offer second language training, but learning a language well enough to be employed takes time (so much time that you may be posted out before you become employed). The MFRCs also have a spousal employment service, but if the Cheesi-Mart is the only place in town that’s hiring, listing your PhD in bioengineering on your résumé is not going to help you get a job bagging groceries.

Is it so wrong that LGen Wynnyk recognized the sacrifices his family made over the years and he chose IR so his family could have someplace to call home and his wife could pursue a career?

I guess in your eyes Mr. Pugliese, not only should military families endure hardships (little access to healthcare, daycare, employment, and living as a single parent) but we should also pay for it out of our own pockets when the government expects the CAF member to perform their duties. Have I got that right? Or do you just believe that military spouses/families should just be quiet and keep the home fires burning because we happen to love someone in uniform?

Mr. Pugliese I suggest that if you continue to write about the military, you investigate what military family life is like before you start ranting to the taxpayers about subsidies that you don’t fully understand.

A whirlwind of activity

2019-05-01

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

2019-03-02

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

2019-01-13

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

2018-12-03

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

2018-11-20


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

2018-09-08

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?