December 16, 2011

The Reserve Situation

 I will never accept defeat. I will never quit.
-Soldier's Creed



We had hoped for the best with this new Army Reserve situation. Turns out, "the best" wasn't exactly in the cards...(If you're new to the blog, you can read the last few posts in {history} to catch up.)

After sitting down with Sky and filling out even more paperwork, he was told he'll have to do the much shorter Reserve school. In fact, it will only be 8 weeks long. Even worse, it will be broken up into 2 week increments, and spread out through months- this means we'll have to worry about the lag from civilian to military paychecks the way we did during the flooding last spring- only this time, we'll have to worry four times over. His first school won't even start until the summertime (and the following dates, through months of the fall), which means the promotion that had been discussed won't happen for at least a year, because he can't get promoted until he's MOS qualified- he was infantry in the National Guard, but the Reserves don't have infantry.

The huge, mean kicker in the whole thing? We just found out the Guard is making Sky pay back the remainder of his enlistment bonus (paid to him years ago, of course)- thousands of dollars that will be taken out of his drill pay, AT pay, school pay, and quite probably, our income tax refunds (and they're probably doing the same to most of his unit, whom they also decided to let go). The whole thing has me wondering why I placed any hope in the military- it's pretty laughable, really. Bad luck has taken on a whole new meaning.

It means a lot of things for us. Obviously, no longer school means no bigger paycheck. That means our debts will stick around (and like I mentioned, we now have a substantial new one), and it means big decisions on everything from paying for my root canal, to having a second baby, to just about everything, really. Of course, the bright side of it is that Sky will only be gone for short amounts of time- we've done 2 weeks apart several times in the past. And then again, there's a deployment ahead that he hopes to volunteer for because the money isn't coming from the school. I keep going back and forth on pros and cons, and it's a bit dizzying.

For now, things will be mostly the same as they have been. Sky will drill once a month and work his civilian job. I will be home with Millie, mothering and doing the household chores. I'll heat up his lunches every day and we'll peek in the dim room of our sweet, sleeping girl every night. We'll continue to live carefully, frugally, and hope that if 2012 isn't our year, maybe 2013 or 2014 will be. Time has a way of making sense backwards, and maybe this will down the road, or maybe it never will at all. Wherever we're destined to go in this roller-coaster life, I know we'll get there.

Eventually, we'll get there.

17 kind comments from you:

Birdie said...

We're almost exactly where you guys are right now. I've been hoping that 2012 will be better, I hope the same for you

Ashley said...

Thinking of you :)

Allison said...

I hope for you that 2012 is a better year!

Anonymous said...

Life can become so tiring, I wish it wasn't so difficult to get ahead in life. Always thinking of you 3
Dena

Kaylee said...

Oh man! What a bummer about the enlistment bonus needing to be paid back - I mean, seriously?! Sorry that things aren't going to get financially better right now. Hang in there!

Brittany Sommer said...

I will keep you guys in my prayers. That just doesn't seem fair :(

Deanna said...

I'm so sorry! I truly hope things turn around for you in this next year! I had no idea they could take back an enlistment bonus like that. That seems incredibly unfair and almost illegal...it's ironic that it's the government behind all of that.

Dani said...

That sucks big time. Keeping you guys in my thoughts!

Doc's Girl (Noel) said...

I'm a bit confused as to how they're making him pay back his enlistment bonus from years ago? That doesn't seem quite right, and honestly, it sounds like someone doesn't know what theyre talking about (military wise - not you). Unless you get hit with a dishonorable discharge, to my knowledge, they can't do that, and he obviously didn't have that happen, as he was allowed to join the Reserves.

I'd dig further into it, because that's a really terrible thing to do. The bonus is that if they take it out of your taxes, and you file an injured spouse petition with your tax return, they can only hold half your return, not the entire thing, b/c YOU don't owe the money, he does.

beka said...

oh, i'm sorry. that stinks. :(

praying that 2012 will bring events that help us all to look up easier.
<3

my favorite part: "Wherever we're destined to go in this roller-coaster life, I know we'll get there.

Eventually, we'll get there."

Melissa said...

I'm sorry this sucks, I don't understand how they can make him pay back his bonus...is it because he didn't fulfill the enlistment because they let him go. That's so confusing I hate the military sometimes in ways they do things. If he had to pay it back they should have told you so when they let him go not now months later when he is going reserves....that seems a little odd to me.
I hope 2012 is better for you too! :)
you will make it through though!

____j said...

I really hate that. They shouldn't be able to make him pay for something they gave him years ago. It's not like he WANTED to get out, they made him. For something silly, no less. Have you talked to anyone about it?

the whyte house said...

i thought this was my blog for a second there. :) we're navy reserves and he's been gone for 3 two wk schools this year, drill every month(here or in cali...or sometimes both in the same month). he's at a mandatory training right now..we just had our christmas w him this wkend. we have another school and another annual training before a yr deployment now. i completely get the paycheck issues...every.single.month. it is so exhausting and so depressing to have bill collector's call and ask "where's my money?" each month. none of them care why it's late...it's just late to them and they want it now. so frustrating. you don't know how many times i wished he was just full active. at least i know the 1st and 15th will bring in paychecks each month! he can't even go full active now because he's prior navy and they won't bring him in til he's put in for an officer packet. ugh. i'm learning the ropes and getting ready to take on the ombudsman position here and i have no idea about army, but have you talked to your family readiness person about this payback deal?? there has to be something that someone can do about that. wishing you guys the best!!

The New "Normal" said...

I'm so sorry...it's just not fair. Your attitude about the whole situation, though is so powerful and strong. You really are an inspiration...the last paragraph you wrote was wonderful. Hang in there, you WILL get there and you will be stronger for it. Keeping you guys in my prayers. *Hugs*

Fran said...

This just doesn't seem fair at all - especially the whole "pay back the bonus: thing.. I'm sorry girl, I'll be praying for you and your family :(

annoyed army wife said...

As you can tell I'm way behind on my commenting, but I first read this post on my phone and my heart sank for you guys. We have heard of so many soldiers in the same position ending up owing the army back for enlistment bonuses, over payments, and a whole host of other things. It always amazes me at the disregard the military has for the impact of these things on families; it's not like they're paying soldiers a ton of money to begin with. I'm so sorry you guys find yourselves in this position.

I've been telling myself that one day we'll be able to look back on our struggles and understand (hopefully), but that really doesn't bring any comfort when you're going through the challenges life throws at you. Your family is in my thoughts.

Jane said...

I'm in the process of getting caught up on blogs so I'm just seeing this now and my heart breaks for you. I'm so sorry. I don't think I could handle the military if Daniel wasn't active. Because at the very least, even with all the bs that goes on, we always get a paycheck. It's such crap that the family of our military has to worry about things like this. :( I think it's awful that they are trying to get back his bonus from that long ago. As if things weren't already tight before that.

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