Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Action Woman & Wailing Me

A Search
Paperwork or the lack of it is causing pain in my world. Thanks to cellular technology, my husband called me at the library today. I was there frenetically searching through stacks of children's books. I had forgotten, but noted on my calendar yesterday, that tomorrow I have to read at school one more time, the books I had already returned. It was the toddler story time as well to complicate things. When Johnny's mama suggested that he stretch with the story reader, he said, "No, I don't want to." I didn't bother asking him to move, but I did manage to just grab ahold of No David, one of the books I needed.

The News
The earthquaking news that I was not prepared for was, "Our request to send you guys back was denied," reported my husband. I felt sick to my stomach. He continued, "I asked what the options were and the Chief said you'll have to stay." Double sick. I couldn't talk though, I was at the library. He said, "I have a patient in seven minutes."

I checked out the books I needed, set off the library alarm, returned to the desk, the books were run through again, and then as I departed the library I managed to call my husband back estimating that the library snafu had used up at least five of my seven minutes. Turned out I was short on composure, five minutes were all I had. When my husband said hello, I burst into tears.

I want to go home. I want to go where I can read all of the signs. I want to go where I don't have to take a translator to school meetings. I want to be able to read my children's homework. I want to live in my house with insulation, heat, painted walls, and a south facing yard with sunlight. I want to go where I can get a job if I can convince someone to hire me. I know, I ask a lot.

Calling Action Woman
With all of my sobbing into the phone, my husband, probably feeling slightly desperate, came up with a suggestion. My entire being perked up. I am "Action Woman" I mean I used to work as a nurse, I like to do stuff. He told me to talk with the Outbound Shipment Personnel about what we could do with Separation Orders (he's retiring) that are forthcoming. My tears dried up instantly; I could do that.

Guess what? Separation Orders allow us to pack up our household goods and go home before he does. Problem solved. I do wish that the Chief knew that before he sprang the dose of mental anguish on us.

I was motivated now. I wanted to confirm that I could make different arrangements from my husband. I went to the travel office to ask if separation orders would secure a plane ticket for my children and myself months ahead of my husband. The young woman was positive and pleasant. When I asked how long it would take to get a ticket arranged, expecting something to be difficult, she told me, "If your paperwork is right, I can get you out the next day, if your paperwork is right. It depends on the circumstances." She then asked if we had pets.

With two independent sources verifying my ability to leave Japan before my husband, my brain wondered what options my husband would have for housing. Now that I was Action Woman instead of Wailing Me, I went to the housing office to ask. A woman sitting behind a desk starring at her computer screen, gave me this advice and a bit more, "You need to consider staying. He's going to lose all of his pay benefits." she went on about how we needed to "think this through."

I marveled at her willingness to dish out advise. I also wanted to scream at her, "You have no idea! You should look me in the eye when you are speaking to me! You should stand up if I'm standing up! Can you please shut up with the advice and tell me what we can do!!!!" But I didn't.

I did get some options out of her after she told me at least three more times I should stay. I still wanted to tell her she might have more impact on people if she actually looked at them, but I didn't. She also told me not to go to the Bachelor's Housing Office, but I did.

I feel better now, but all this bureaucracy is exhausting.

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