I don’t often blog about being a military spouse here. Even though I’d have plenty of material to blog about, I have many more fascinating aspects to my personality. However, I felt compelled to blog about about the magic of a TDY. If you’re not related to the military in any way, shape, or form, you might be wondering what a TDY is.
TDY stands for “Temporary Duty Yonder.”* This temporary duty can be anywhere from a weekend to many months, and can be either stateside or overseas. Obviously, as this is temporary, a military member doesn’t bring their family along on the trip. While some might find this sad or overwhelming, I usually find this time to be perfect for completing surprise projects and indulging in bad habits.
The first bad habit involves my sleeping patterns. I’m not currently employed (though I love to volunteer!) so I don’t have any set schedule I have to adhere to. When Spencer is home, we normally go to sleep between 10-11 so he can make it into the office early. When he’s not here, it’s not uncommon for me to stay up until 3am working on projects. Of course, that also makes it so that I don’t wake up until way late in the morning (or afternoon…). My dog can rouse me out of bed just long enough to let her out in the morning, but back to bed I go.
My second bad habit is my lack of eating, and the poor quality of food when I do decide to eat. I have to say that I’m doing better on this TDY than the last, but probably because the last one was 6 days, and this one is around a month long. It’s a lot easier to eat ramen for 6 days than for a month. Normally, I get at least one good meal a day when Spencer is home. I tend to get lazy when it comes to eating breakfast or lunch, so I’ll just graze or not eat until I make dinner. When he’s gone, my “good” eating habits go with him. I hate cooking for one, so my meals usually consist of ramen, ramen with beef, and ramen with egg and sriracha. It’s kind of nice because it really cuts down on the food budget when you spend $1.20 a week on groceries, but I also end the week practically mummified due to all the sodium. I started this TDY off with good intentions – I bought fruit, salad, avocados…but then I got home and realized that was really all I bought along with a mix to make fried rice and a box of cheerios. That’s what happens when I shop at 7am. Looks like I’m back to my ramen. Don’t worry, I’ll throw a protein shake or two in there!
While I do have a few bad habits that I need to reign in, I do look at TDYs as an opportunity to get the house in order without the mess-master close behind. For instance, all of my dishes are clean and in the cupboards. I had the chance to clean the ceiling fan and vacuum the bedroom floor (which is usually covered in flight suits, checklists, and random books). The bathroom is immaculate, the laundry is all washed and folded, and most of the random papers sitting around have been sorted and filed.
I also use this opportunity to challenge myself physically. My husband loves to work out, and is known for helping others with their workouts. As his wife, he sometimes manages to drag me along to the gym. Most of the time, though, I’ll look for excuses to stay home. With an upcoming marathon, I really need to be the one pushing myself to get to the gym or go out for that long run. So far, I’ve been really successful which is a big deal. I once told a fellow military spouse that my hatred of running was just below my hatred of terrorism, so getting out there for my longer runs is a huge accomplishment.
A TDY is also a great opportunity to save, and even make, money. Most of this rests on Spencer’s shoulders. He is given per diem for food. If he doesn’t use all of it, he gets to keep what’s left. This time around he’s bringing a blender bottle and a container of Muscle Milk that he’ll be using for breakfasts. On my end, I make sure not to drive too much. I’m also usually able to shave quite a bit off the regular grocery bill. We also have budgets for eating out and his lunches that don’t get used during this time. Depending on the per diem amount and the length of time he’s away, we can make a pretty nice amount each TDY. Hopefully we’ll be able to put a bit of money aside for some home improvement projects, as well as dump a bit towards our student loans.
On a complete tangent – I caught our dog eating cat poop straight out of the litter box. She’d root around for a poo clump (passing over the pee clumps), and would then eat the turd by scraping the litter off with her front teeth. My mom called it “almond roca for dogs.” Oh Ellie! What am I supposed to do with you?!
*I had to look this TLA (three letter acronym) up. If we’re talking about TDY’s with family, we usually just call it a temp duty or a temporary duty assignment. However, when I was on the phone with my dad yesterday, I called it a TDY. When he asked me what it stood for, I said, “Temporary duty…uh…blahblahblah.” Ever the wise-ass, Dad said, “Wow. Didn’t know that blahblahblah started with a Y. And what an official sounding military term!” I guess the “Y” stands for yonder…and I think that sounds really dumb. They should just be called TDAs.