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Saturday, February 5, 2011

No Good Options

Yesterday, Brandon called me.  He had been given the option to leave, and after much much consideration, he decided to go.  I knew that I should have felt happy, relieved, excited when I got the phone call, but I felt nothing.  And so I arranged for a corporate rental apartment, got in touch with a car-buying service, started going through the mental lists of what  had to buy to stock the apartment, and offered a very heartfelt prayer of thanks.

I called him this morning, and he was (and probably is) still sitting at the airport, waiting to leave.  I asked him how he was feeling, and he was was very distressed about having to leave; he feels that he is abandoning his co-workers, his job, and his responsibility for Rere. He gave her all of the cash he had on hand when he left, but it was barely enough to cover a month's salary.  The only reason he is leaving is for me and the children.

If we knew that we were coming back, I don't think Brandon would be distressed - but we don't.  We only have six months left on our tour, and how long the evacuation will last is anybody's guess.  If they do let Brandon go back, they might not let me and the children go back.  If Brandon doesn't go back, then we will be PCS'd to DC.

We had been planning on being TDY for Brandon's training, and the per diem would neatly cover all of our housing.  If we are PCS'd, however, we will be given an eight percent pay raise, everything we have in storage, and a hearty good luck for finding any kind of reasonable housing for three children less than three hours away from DC on a very low FS-5 salary.  We have been very careful with our money, and have saved quite a bit, but if we're in DC for eighteen months on our own power, there won't be a penny left by the time we leave.  And I'll be crammed into a tiny apartment with at least three children (we don't plan to be done any time soon) for a year and a half tearing my hair out.

If Brandon goes back to post, I'll be in an apartment that is paid for, but I will be without my husband for three or four months.  Either way, I'll be prematurely bald.

If I knew what would happen next, then I could plan.  But I don't.  I don't even know when Brandon will be coming back to the US.  I always prefer to have the disaster happen so I can get to cleaning it up rather than bracing for an undefined coming evil.

Nothing in life is ever neat.  We often move from one disaster to the next, and I suppose I'm owed one after the last year of peace and calm.  Philosophy, however, only gets one so far when reality stares you in the face.  But, what can be done?  Not much except to get out of bed every day, take care of those you are responsible for, and do it again the next day.


Alix Bryant said...

Hello there. We are a FS family living in DC. I wanted to reach out and introduce myself because we also have 3 young kids and may be able to help you get settled into DC. Please email me and we can chat about what would be most helpful for you upon your arrival.

Becky said...

Oh Ashley, hang in there. I am so, so sorry. I wish I could throw my arms around you right now and make it all better. "No good options" is what every evac and contingency publication in the State Department should be named. We have felt so backed into a corner so many times and over and over, we keep saying "there is no good option."

Keep going. I know it is so hard and the uncertainty makes it even harder. We had been on track to finally get on top of everything financially and even pay off student loans mostly. Evac blew that all to smithereens. We're still trying to recover financially. 5 months after returning from AD. Don't beat yourselves up about what could have been. It is easy to do. Just do the best that you can. And that is enough! However you have to cope is okay and good enough. Do whatever it takes to be okay. I kept feeling guilty about so many things or being depressed by what could have been had our lives not been blown apart. There is just so much to deal with. I think of you all the time.

I hope that whatever happens (you all returning, him returning, you all going to DC) you are able to be okay. We are still struggling a lot even though we are all back at post. I just wanted you to know that struggling is normal and that somebody down on the border is praying for you like crazy because I know how incredibly difficult all of this junk can be. You are tough though and I know you guys will make it through this.

Mindy said...


We are in DC for another month and are standing by to help!!
Call me at any point and let me help you brainstorm some solutions!


Daniela Swider said...

We are also an FS family living in the DC Area (Falls Church) for another year before we go to India. So if you need help or play dates or whatever, don't hesitate to contact me.

And yes, we too feel poor living in DC on one government salary.

Nisa said...

I'm with you. I just want to plan, get the bad stuff over with and clean up. Please, don't make me wait. Ugh! But I am so happy that Brandon will be with you soon. And DC will be a whole lot easier together. Maybe a "now" position will open up right when you need it to. The Lord is in charge and stranger things have happened. *hugs* You're in my prayers!