By Selena Conmackie
Acronyms, military IDs and doing things differently, OH MY! That’s part of what military life is all about. Learning to navigate all of it is another. Luckily, I’ve figured it all out. But it wasn’t always that way, so I thought I’d pass along what I’ve learned to you. So, here goes….
Here’s the 411 about my daily life as a MilSpouse trying to fit into this military world.
I’m lost all.the.time when my husband tells me about his day.
“I ate at the DFAC and then went over to ACS for a meeting to discuss my TDY that is coming up soon because as the NCOIC, I need to get things in order”
(First of all, I know he won’t go to the ACS building for a meeting but it’s all I could think of when starting this article. *closing eyes slowly*)
So then what follows is me saying, “Oh, is the DFAC a restaurant?”
My husband: “No, it’s the cafeteria”
Me: “Then why don’t you all just call it a cafeteria?”
My husband: “Cause it’s the DFAC”
Why is EVERYTHING Acronym-ed? I mean, I get it, it’s that or a really long way of saying Dining Facilities Administration Center/Cafeteria instead of DFAC… but why give it such a complicated name to begin with?
One of the things I didn’t say out loud the first two years as a MilSpouse (of my almost seven years as of the writing of this post) was “PCS” (Permanent Change of Station). I constantly called it a “PSC” and my husband would roll his eyes at the infant stage his new wife was in learning his military language. For the record, the antiquated Military Spouse manual my husband gave me did NOT have a glossary of acronyms I needed to know.
And bless my seasoned MilSpouse friends when I would try to converse and say, “Man, PSC can be tough right?” They wouldn’t even correct me. They knew I’d get that eventually.
Have you ever frantically gone through your purse cursing the military gate gods because where you thought your ID was, was in fact not? Oh, just me?
Or did the Commissary cashier look at your insane amount of grocery haul on the conveyor belt when you told them you needed to go back to your car because you left your ID in the console when you came into the gate earlier? Just me again?
It’s a funny thing when you switch from a civilian to a military dependent. That military ID is your key to your on-post home, the commissary, shopping at the PX (Post Exchange, ANOTHER acronym!) and checking in for your medical appointment. Suddenly, something that didn’t exist in your life is very essential.
Now, six years in, I’m a pro at having it ready to go at a seconds need. *flips hair*
It’s the little wins in life you need to celebrate, you know.
Doing Things Differently
Not all military families live on post. And that was something me and the Army hubby discussed when we knew we were PCS’ing. (I got it right that time!)
I did something I know I would never have done as a civilian — we bought a house at our second duty station together in Texas. Hold the phone… We bought it while I was still in Louisiana and my husband was in Korea. This is a normal occurrence for most military families. (Like our romances: fast and with 98% certainty.)
I recall my mom saying — when I was sharing the homes we were interested in with her — “Wait, you aren’t seeing them, FIRST?” That gave her anxiety — long with the rest of my family watching from Hawaii how I was handling my new life in the military.
We did our research and the new duty station was pretty busy with a high return rate on selling, should that have been our choice. It felt transactional and not “life-changing” as buying a house is for most not in the military. We knew it may not be forever.
I won’t lie. It was hard to look at my first-ever-home-purchased-in-my-life as not my “forever home”. Our realtor was well suited in helping military families and was a milspouse herself and made it quick and painless. And we timed everything so that when we arrived with our cars and small U-Haul trailer to our new duty station, we had the keys for our home.
Only when we settled in for our first night on blow-up beds did I breathe with a sigh of relief that it went smooth. And how crazy that felt to have bought our first home, sight unseen, neighborhood unseen.
So, yep… there are a lot of things that we do differently in the military. But it’s all good. I’ve got this now.
About Selena Conmackie
Some call Selena their Social Media Gal, Website Designer Extraordinaire Guru, Genius (their words, not hers). But she’s also a Military Spouse following her husband with her kid and dog in tow to wherever the Army sends them. So, just add Rockstar Mom and Ah-mazing Wife to her list. H A U O L I is the name of her small boutique business. It means Happy in Hawaiian and has a special meaning that became the inspiration for her new journey. Her goal is to help your business to succeed — and social media plays a part in that. She enjoys the game of hashtags and algorithms and helping her clients optimize their online presence.