Pathway to normalcy

Wow I can’t believe its been almost a month since my last blog post!  Time has been absolutely flying by.  I’ve been so busy this month, I’ve hardly had time to do anything!  The best thing that’s happened since the last time I wrote was that Ben moved here to Norfolk and I moved off base to live with him!  Its been so nice, I actually feel like a 100% normal human being again.  The apartment we got isn’t as nice as we probably would have wanted, but its a place, and considering the amount of time we had to find a place to live, I think we did pretty well.  The location is great (I can practically see the band hall from where we live – we’re right outside of the gate), and its a great price.  We’re just so used to living in our own house, its hard to transition to apartment life (especially when you’re neighbors are super loud and have super loud kids!)  Good thing is, in a year if we want to move, we can (and we probably will!)

The only drawback right now is that I have a 20 minute commute in the morning.  Which isn’t all that bad I guess, I’m just used to only driving 10 minutes to work or school (like in Rochester), or walking 5 minutes from the barracks to the school.  And the commute sucks when you have a watch/duty every other day!  That is the way it has been for the whole month of September since there is no Army class, so there are only Marines and Sailors to fill up the watch bill. 

For those of you who are confused by that…here’s how it is: at the school, all the basic students have to stand watches either at the school telephone (day), the barracks telephone (night), or a roving barracks security (night).  They are only two hour shifts, but they can really suck if they are in the middle of the night.  Right now I’ve got it worked out with the watch bill coordinator (the person who does the schedule) so that I don’t have to stand midnight-2am or 2am-4am watch…but all others I can be scheduled for.  For example this past week I had 10pm-midnight on tuesday night, and 4-6 on Friday morning at the barracks.  Friday morning I had to get up at 2:30am to be able to get ready and get to my watch on time!  And since morning muster is at 7:20, I just went and practiced after my watch.  I was sooooooo tired by the end of the day.  And I get to do it again 2 more times this week, woo!  Those watches were so much easier when I lived right upstairs!  But its worth it to live with Ben.  Honestly I don’t think I should have to stand the barracks watches because I don’t live at the barracks, but I don’t make the rules I guess…  Luckily a new army class should be coming in the next couple weeks so I should only have watch once a week or so.

Anyways, other than standing the watch, I love my job!  Getting paid to practice?  OK!  And I do a lot of it.  I’m trying to learn as much as I can from my instructors here, especially from my clarinet instructor.  She is really good (she has a masters degree also) and definitely knows what she is talking about!  I’ve never played so many marches in my life, but its pretty fun.  Basically my day starts at around 6am – we are required to get an hour of practice time outside of school hours and I get it done before school starts so that I can just go home at the end of the day.  We muster at 7:20, then school officially begins at 7:30.  We have a “period” system, like in high school.  Periods 1-4 are in the morning, then we go to lunch, then we have 3 more periods in the afternoon.  After 7th period, we have what is called “service specific time” which means we do stuff with our respective services (navy, marines), usually PT (physical training – aka exercise).  Its a lot to do in one day, but I would never trade it for what I was doing before I joined the Navy.

So I officially have about 4 weeks left before I graduate from the school.  I’m trying to get all my academics done ASAP, but I’m also trying to take my time because I can possibly qualify for early advancement to E-4.  That means a pay raise without having to take the E-4 exam!  Its a difficult balance, but I’m managing.  I’m starting to run out of time though!  I’m super stressed out at the moment.  I just can’t wait until a month from now.  Everyone says that its way easier being in the band than it is at the school.  I just hope they are right!

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