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The Big Announcement

March 13, 2009

OK, I’ve kept you in suspense long enough.

Josh is joining the military.

Normally gunsmiths can expect to make at least $40,000 in their first year. However, when Josh got back from school, the job he had been promised for the last 2 years evaporated. Said they couldn’t take one more on the payroll. The local gunshop gives him some extra stock work, and he has a small local following of docs who he does a lot of gunwork for, but not enough to make a living. He had hoped to open a gunshop, but banks in the area aren’t exactly taking risks on new business owners, especially since we might have to pack up shop and leave in a year for my internship.

So after weighing our options, Josh has decided to go military. Probably the Army. The Navy is wooing him so hard though that he feels its worth it to at least entertain the idea. But he is planning on doing MEPS this month for the Army and honestly, the Army seems like a better fit. On one hand, he would get the exact job he wants as a small arms specialist, while the Navy would probably have him be a general machinist. On the other hand, he is pretty much required to spend a year in Korea at some point or could be deployed to Iraq immediately, while with the Navy, he would have to spend a max of 6 months on a boat every 18 months…and that’s the max. Apparently you only need one machinist per boat so…pretty good odds of not being gone a lot.

Wow, looking at that, you’d think… holy shit, why not the Navy? Well, he went to school to be a gunsmith, so working with boat equipment instead is a pretty big difference. The Navy could also make him do an extra 8 months of training for nuclear reactors since everything they do is nuclear now. FUN. The Army works out better with my career too. There are more Army residencies that would meet my needs, and if I didn’t do an Army residency, there are plenty of DO residencies near the bases.

And career satisfaction is really what this is all about. Sure, if the economy was great and people had tons of money to spend on getting their guns refinished or professionally repaired, he probably wouldn’t do it. But, it is by no means not the only reason. He tried to join the Marines out of highschool, but realized the day before basic he really wasn’t mature enough at the time to take orders and stop partying. We then both considered joining the Army before medical school, but we were newlyweds and didn’t want to be apart for the 6+ months of basic and AIT. Now with a little education under his belt, experience with being away from home, and my flexibility in my 4th year…now just feels like the right time.

But the BIG question… am I joining too? At this point, my answer would be “only if I must.” I had at one point seriously attempted at joining the Air Force, but they turned me down due to poor vision (which is so stupid, my glasses are thick but my vision is easily correctable…its not like I’m gonna be a fighter pilot for chrissake). So obviously I am not averse to the idea, but I am not going to try to join right now with him. For one thing, sure, I’d have to join to do the residency, but civilians are allowed to rotate at Army hospitals and participate in the military match, so I don’t have to join just to be considered. If I don’t match or don’t like where I match, I can say nevermind and then do the DO match. If I already was military, I would be stuck wherever I matched. For another thing, there is one program in Georgia that would actually contract me as a civilian. I’d get the perks of military like good pay, no malpractice, benefits) without the downsides like basic, deployment, or wearing the lovely uniform.

So OK, with the reality of Josh leaving for 6 months for basic and AIT setting in, I’ve had to plan accordingly. Which was part of the reason I didn’t want to mention it before… a) Josh still hasn’t signed on the dotted line for the military so it felt weird (and still does, like a jinx or something) to talk about it like it is 100% settled… and b) the question that comes up after you announce something like this is how are you going to deal? Well, I’ll be fine, but it will take some finagling.

And let me break right here to say that this is totally OUR decision. He did not make the decision one-sidedly and then leave me to figure out how to deal. We have spent hours upon hours discussing our options and what would be best for BOTH of us. For example, he was originally going to leave early April. We quickly realized that that is not enough time to get ready to leave me alone for 6 months (and certainly not for 18 months, after all, there is always the chance of Iraq deployment). Plus right now I have my evenings free, so I would be really lonely with him gone. So we decided he would wait until July to leave, after my fellowship is over and have 4th year rotations to keep me busy.

OK so back to what I was saying … before all this went down, I was hoping to do some out rotations at possible residency programs, but I was going to do the absolute minimum because it would be expensive and it would be a lot of time away from home. But since he’ll be gone anyway, and he’ll have a good paycheck, I can afford to spend most of the 6 months doing some exciting out rotations! I didn’t want to talk about it until it was done, but today I submitted my schedule to the dean, its been approved and I will post the schedule… tomorrow! Bwahaha! Mine is an evil laugh!

Then, what to do with the pups in the months we are both gone? This has been a BIG hindrance on me announcing anything because it is not at all resolved. (Its not that no one can help, its just none of this military stuff or my 4th year schedule have been definite until today, and I didn’t want to ask anyone until I knew for sure. So…surprise!) I have a few options though that I am working on. One is getting a roommate, maybe a 2nd year med student, who could watch them in exchange for reduced rent. Another is having a group of med student doggy sitters to take a break from student housing for awhile to come hang at my house, sleep in a comfy bed, take baths in a real bath tub, and play with cute pups. (Sounds weird but I did that exact thing my 2nd year for a 4th year couple gone on out rotations together.) Or I could see if my dad & stepmom or other relatives could take them. I will hopefully be seeing them this weekend, and if not, then certainly the next, so I can discuss it with them then.They love having them visit for a week or so, but it would be committing to take them for months. Roxy can be a handful, so that’s a bit of a tall order.

And about him getting stationed where I’m matched? Well, I should know where I’ll be matched before he has to submit his list of stations, and with an excuse like his wife is doing a residency there, he would probably get it. Though we are VERY seriously discussing him doing a voluntary deployment to Korea. Wait, hear me out… it sounds scary, and if nothing else, like a VERY long time to be gone, which it is, but it has a lot of benefits. For one, he’d get his first choice of where to be stationed when he got back, so I could match wherever I wanted and he would be able to go there. For another, if deployment is inevitable, why not do it now while he doesn’t have kids to leave behind or while I will be super busy doing 4th year and internship? Lets be honest… I’d barely see him anyway. Helloooo… I’ll be an intern, by definition the hospital owns my soul. I could do my thing, he could do his, and when he got back, we wouldn’t have to worry about a random deployment. And speaking of which, if he did get deployed to Iraq, it is at least winding down and the job he would do would not have him on the front lines. We haven’t committed to doing this, but when you see it all laid out, it makes sense, doesn’t it?

Alright, I think that’s enough for now. I could go on and on about this but its already a lot to digest. Its going to be hard, and sorry it couldn’t be something more fun like me being pregnant or winning the lottery, but I ultimately think this is really good and exciting news.

And good God, yes, I will post my schedule tomorrow. Get off my back woman!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2009 10:36 am

    Wow, exciting news! I can tell you really have thought a lot about all the “what if”s. You already know I’m happy to doggy sit any time, and I’ll want to hear all about your out rotations!

  2. March 13, 2009 11:17 am

    It sounds like you two have really planned everything out. I wish you good luck in your future endevours. I had talked to Josh the other day and it sounded interesting. Now it’s just telling all the folks your plans. If you need anything, just holler and we’ll see what we can do to help ya’ll out.

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