The Return from Pennsic: The SCA versus the Navy.

I don’t always post about my really real for real life here on this blog, because this is a place for the research I wish to share with like-minded folks. However, this being relevant to my SCA life, I thought I could share a bit about generally crazy our lives can get.

First and foremost, a disclaimer: I haven’t been a military wife for that long, and I met Geoffrey when he was still on shore duty. As far as things are going so far, I’m downright spoiled. This is all going to change in about a year, but I don’t have much to say about it yet, other than that there is a potentially big move involved. We did move from Rhode Island to New Hampshire this year, or rather, he moved last fall and I joined him in the winter once I finished my degree, so I already got displaced from my home of 11 years into a totally new, and entirely less urban-convenient area.

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Us at Palio di Stonemarche. Being all matchy Italian rennie and stuff.

VERSUS

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Us at the USS Constitution for a sailor’s re-enlistment ceremony and probably the worst hair day of my life.

Geoffrey is an active-duty submariner. That means for the most part [but not always], his home base is going to be in New London, CT. This makes us already percentages more stable than the majority of military families. Subs can be moved, though, such as up to a shipyard for repairs, which is what put us in Portsmouth, NH for the time being. This worked out well, since I was accepted into the University of New Hampshire for my MA, which is just 20 minutes away, and thanks to the Navy, I was given in-state tuition.

On the SCA front, of course, this had us switch baronies from Bridge to Stonemarche here in the East. Being in Bridge for over a decade and knowing everyone for so long made this probably the most difficult part of the move. Not that I didn’t know folks up here in Stonemarche, but it’s just not the same. Different events, different sites, the idea that we would have to drive more than an hour to our “local” events that seemed stupidly flabbergasting thanks to the New England mentality we both disgustingly adopted.  (Yeah, um, here in the East, aside from Tir Mara, the Canadian Provinces, we’re REALLY spoiled when it comes to events being close. We’re more population than area, and still, Montreal is only 4 hours away. Halifax or St. John’s, on the other hand…)

Then comes the questions: How involved do we get when we know we’re only here for 2 years? How attached do we stay with the baronies to our south? How is our mundane workload now going to effect our eventing?

Oh, that last one is a doozy. With Geoffrey being on a submarine now and not on shore, despite the fact that it’s up on blocks and full of holes, means that he has to work more on base, and leave is harder to get. We had a hell of a spring into summer. Especially with the odds of a deployment around every corner.  Pins and needles. He started taking every weekend off for events, figuring that Pennsic wasn’t an option, but once that changed, again, he put in for the 2 weeks of war, and we were good to go.

This is when the really fun stuff happens.

We knew he was up for Chief. Things were working in his favor for promotion, and we had a feeling that this could be it. And well, it was. We found out that he made E-7 while sipping iced coffees at Cafe Merhaba, while I waited to work the State Dinner. I watched him hold back emotions so much that tears welled in his eyes…and of course, you know, I footed the bill at the Cafe. What I didn’t know, however, was that in the Navy, making chief is more than just a big deal, it comes with 6 weeks of very high stress training, called induction or indoctrination or simply “Chief Season”. Some call it hazing, and some say that it’s not what it used to be, all I know is that both of our phones started blowing up. They wanted him back as soon as possible. He told them that this wasn’t happening. There was no way, even if we left early, we’d still need a day to drive and a day to unload, putting us into the weekend anyway. I watched as Geoffrey’s relaxed vacation turned into moments of anxious stress, and I kept saying that if he wanted to leave early, we could. At this point I was done teaching my classes. I couldn’t fight because I sprained my ankle 2 weeks prior (that’s a whole other story) and I was generally having a “meh” war. But he insisted we stay to help break camp, and even stay with the freehold I’m apart of in the hotel on the way home. And honestly, I’m glad we did, because he hit the pillow and passed the hell out. There’s no way he would have made a 10 hour drive home. No.

So we got home from Pennsic around 5:30pm on Sunday August 10th, and he dropped the trailer in our parking lot and went, “I’ll be back in a bit, I need to run to base.”

…So that bit? That bit took til 10pm. The car and trailer were still loaded. This is when Anna’s stress levels started to soar. My sewing machine, my inkle loom, OUR THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF GARB were sitting in space bags in tubs on a trailer, in a parking lot, with a ripped tarp that was strapped down so tight I couldn’t undo the knots myself.  And it stayed like this for a week.  It took Geoffrey falling out at PT due to dehydration for him to get an afternoon off so we could actually try to do things. This was Friday, we had been home for 6 days, and naturally, it had POURED during the week, so I was constantly freaked over the condition of the stuff, and you know, the condition of my husband, who had decided to stress so much he wasn’t staying hydrated enough. If it wasn’t for me feeding him, he wouldn’t have been eating enough, either. It was only his first week, but because he missed several days while we were at Pennsic, they were running him ragged, and my stress only compounded every day seeing him drag ass, and seeing our stuff get soaked. On top of that, I had to make a flag for the CPO selects on the base in 2 days. Which I have to admit I am most proud of (thank you, Wonder Under and the marvel that is iron on anything!) But at least this promotion means that he isn’t going on a fall deployment [as of right now]. So there is THAT [maybe]. *phew* [don’t hold your breath.]

It is now one full week since we have been home. The trailer and car are now empty, and the majority of the contents that need to go back into homes here in the house are now sitting in my living room waiting to be washed or hung back up, and are emanating a smell that is akin to campfire and Old Spice deodorant-infused man-sweat. Where’s Geoffrey? Geoffrey is in Boston, playing on the Constitution (!!!) for a week. I’m probably the only Navy Wife that is more geeky about this than all the guys are, especially since on Friday they get to take her out onto the water, and I can’t go, sit on the pier, and cry in jealousy. I got $40 for laundry, Oxyclean, and a kiss, and he’s gone. Of course before that, I had to press his dress whites, sew on patches to 2 new sets of NWUs, even breaking a needle and having it fly up my nose. No, I’m not making that up. The pointy end of the needle FLEW INTO MY NOSE. If it wasn’t for my nose ring, it probably would have hurt a lot more than it did. The words I uttered are already circulating the world and causing pearl clutching as far as Siberia. I assure you. I never did fine the pointy end. I keep blowing my nose wondering if it’s stuck. For those that don’t know, it costs servicemembers A LOT OF MONEY to maintain uniforms. I probably just saved us $50 in patch-sewing alone. That’s clearly $50 I can use on fabric. Clearly.

..And now he has to buy all new uniforms, and I get to re-patch all his other sets of NWUs.

So, he’s gone all week. That gives me a chance to FINALLY un-Pennsic the house, a week later. Catch up on the rest of my sewing work…a week later, and generally attempt to finally decompress and make sure he can come home on Friday and relax. Then I have one week left before I start a whole new degree at a whole new university, and he’s not through with this until the 15th of September.

No pressure.

I Love you, muffin.❤ It certainly will be an interesting 2 more years of sea duty.

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3 thoughts on “The Return from Pennsic: The SCA versus the Navy.

  1. That is quite a series of events! Like your website. What are you studying for the MA? I did mine in Theological Studies, which includes a history section so I did early Church history and Patristics, which dovetail nicely with 10th century Byzantine since that is the sort of reading my persona would have been doing. Love those Cappadocian Fathers! Anyway, thanks for sharing the link on Facebook!

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