Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Refit is the hardest part of a submariner's schedule.  At least that's my opinion, but I think most people would agree.  Refit is when the boat is in and the crew is doing maintenance on it before it goes back out.  It's hard because the sailors are on 3-day duty, which means they have a 24-hour shift once every three days, and usually 12-hours shifts for the next two.  So a sailor will work 7:00 am Monday to 7:00 am Tuesday, at which point he starts his Tuesday shift, then gets off at 7:00 pm.  Wednesday he'll be back to work at 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, then it starts over again with a 24-hour shift on Thursday.  Weekends are not excluded for duty days, but if you don't have duty, you can hope for it off. 

Not only are the hours exhausting, but the work is too.  So basically we see Jeff for a few hours every couple of days when he's in a state in which he can barely think let alone move.  Poor guy.  Poor family.

Here's why it's hard on me:

1) He's gone all the time, so the single parent thing kicks in.  I become responsible for everything-- the kids, the house, the cars, the administrative stuff, everything, because Jeff won't have a spare minute in a day to do it.  He gets home, says hello to the kids and plays with them for a few minutes (if they're even still awake) then it's off to bed to try to recover and gear up for the next day.

2) But he's still "home," so I still need to keep the house clean, the kids clean, make food, and do all that stuff.  I know, just plain awful right? :)  But when he's gone, I can skip the cleaning, skip the dinner or the bath, and it's no big deal.  But when he's kind of home, it makes a big difference for him when it's done so I need to do it.

3) And when life gets hard, people get cranky.  Especially the kids.  Enough said on that one.

So anyways, life during refit is hard.  Military life is hard.  I try very hard not to complain and this wasn't intended to be a complaint either.  Most of the people who read this blog aren't military and I thought they might be interested as to what it's like.

So yes, it can be hard.  But I know we were supposed to join the military, specifically the Navy nuke program.  And that's why I don't complain.  I'll write the story of why I know that another day.


~Kimi~ said...

That just sounds crappy all around. Man. You are one strong lady.

Gahley's said...

I know how you feel!! If you ever need a vent session, we may be Army but my husband is gone more than he is home so I got your back girl!!!

elizabeth said...

That is unbelievably crazy! Just thinking about it makes me tired.

Liz said...

Yes, I can see why that would be hard. Kind of the worst combo, you have all of the hard things that come with him being gone, plus all the work of him being home. Even if all he can give you is a sleepy, grateful smile before he crashes into bed, I'm sure Jeff is very grateful, and proud of you. Behind every great soldier is an even stronger, more flexible, and more exhausted wife.

Scott is actually deployed right now, so with that perspective, while I totally comprehend the frustrations you have (and don't envy them), I can offer a few benefits I wish I had right now:

- at the end of each day, you have solid evidence Jeff is alive and safe
- even if you're too tired to touch each other, it's better than sleeping alone
-occasional Sundays at church with his help are better than none at all
- the towels, sheets, and shower still smell like him. Amazing how fast that cologne smell leaves once Daddy does.
-you can see literal evidence of your effort making a difference in his life. When he's gone, you're only helping him in theory.
- when the kids see his car, it means he's really home. I hate having to explain over and over to Merrylee that yes, Daddy's car is home, but no, he's not here
- making a full family meal has purpose when a man is home to eat it. Making it just for the kids is very rarely worth it, and you never get the deserved praise unless it's french toast or pancakes. Yet they still have to eat when Daddy is gone. . . so it's weeks of kid food. Yum!
- Best thing you have going for you: on the worst days when you feel so exhausted and overwhelmed, that just the sight of your husband coming home makes you lose it and cry, there is a shoulder to do it on, even if he falls asleep while being sympathetic. I'd take a sleepy sympathetic shoulder over a 15 minute phonecall any day!