We were racing around the house, tearing through drawers and ripping clothes off hangers. This deployment provided the least amount of heads up we had received yet; less than twenty-four hours and he was leaving. There was a lot of stress and a lot of holding back tears, but it was a huge relief to know that since this wasn’t our first rodeo, we were at least prepared.
The Real Problem…
Once he leaves, communication is not guaranteed. Even though wifi has become more and more common wherever someone goes, there is still no telling when I might actually hear from him. Therefore, I want passwords, copies of documents, and everything else taken care of before he gets on that plane. I have friends whose spouses travel often and for long periods of time for their jobs as well. While this list does include some military specific to do’s, most apply to anyone who has to face separation for longer than a few days.
15 Must Do’s Before They Head Out
POWER OF ATTORNEY & WILLS
- Having a PoA is especially important if your spouse is leaving during tax season (my hand is raised)! Even if you do not foresee having to sign your spouse’s name in the near future, better safe than frustratingly sorry. If you had one done in the past, check the dates to make sure it is still valid! Having wills made is not the happiest thing to think about, but again, having it does create a sense of security.
COPY OF ORDERS
- This was one that my sister-in-law mentioned to me, and I am glad she did. When I went in to do my taxes sans Danny, they asked for his orders right along with the PoA. You never know when you might need to prove that they are deployed. Have your spouse make you a copy of their orders.
CALL CREDIT CARDS & BANKS
- Both our credit card company and bank keep a hawk-like look out for fraudulent charges. I call and alert them to his leaving and give them a large time-frame, with a reminder in my planner to update those dates if need be. He is going through enough, I will not have a declined credit card added to that list.
CHECK PHONE SERVICE
- With wifi seemingly almost everywhere, we have been lucky enough to use imessages quite often to keep in contact with each other. There is also Facebook messaging and calling that is very helpful. Depending on where they are going, your cellphone may already have service, or it could be worth it to add service.
- Checking in with your insurance company could save you money! If you have multiple cars, you can suspend or reduce the insurance on one if you have no plans to drive it. Call your insurance company and see what options are available to you. We also have a motorcycle which we put into storage mode to save a few bucks.
- Make sure all travel documents are up to date and ready to go. While the military should have the service member’s government passport, I still tell Danny to double-check everything. Things do fall through the cracks sometimes! If your spouse is travelling for business, checking travel documents is even more important. One of my best friends had a nightmare at the airport when it turned out that her husband needed a visa to go to Australia (British Commonwealth country) even though he is a British citizen. Luckily there are many visa companies that assist you quickly, but talk about stress! Double check everything.
- If your spouse usually pays the bills, make sure you have a complete list of what is to be paid and when.
- We have our normal budget, but that goes out the window during deployment. We make a plan where Danny takes a set amount from one of our accounts on the same day each week when he is gone. This helps me immensely when I am going through our budget. There are no surprises and I always know where we stand.
- Oil chage, tire rotation, air filters, anything we can think of we have done. It buys me several months time where those things are not hanging over my head. I also feel a little more secure knowing that my car has been checked and given the green light.
- This is a newer one for me, and one that I think many people skip over until they really need it. I am all for mowing my own lawn! However, with a toddler that is so much more difficult than it used to be. We do not live on base and therefore must take care of this on our own. I make sure that I have a lawn service number on the fridge so that my neighbors don’t hate me come spring time.
- I make sure that my master password list is up to date. I would lose my mind if all of a sudden I had to log back in to Netflix to continue my Friday Night Lights binge, and I don’t know the password! Bank accounts, utility websites, streaming channels, Amazon Prime; you name it, I make sure I have the password.
- Another new one for us! This one has already come into play during this deployment when Vivienne’s daycare was unexpectedly closed for one day during the week. Being a teacher, this is enough to make me have a full blown panic attack. Have babysitters in mind for any situation, such as covering you at a moments notice during the work week or someone that doesn’t mind giving up a Saturday night when you just need a Girl’s Night. Make a list of your trusted people!
- This saves my sanity, especially during the first few weeks. Not only do I do a weekly meal plan every Sunday, I will also make some of favorite meals that can be frozen for future use. When Danny leaves, my deep freezer is full of yummy, healthy comfort foods so I have one less thing to worry about. Meal planning keeps me from breaking down in tears every night after school, trying to feed myself and Viv. I am not scrambling through the cupboard struggling to put stuff together. It also saves money! I know exactly what I need to shop for every week. Win/win!
- Know who you can count on. There is going to be a time when you will need help with something. Whether it be a trusted neighbor, friend, or friend’s spouse or family member, have people in mind that you know will be there when you need them. I have a list of these people in my planner so that I am not scrolling through my phone wondering who I can call.
- Right before he leaves (even this time), we do a walk through of the house. We look for anything that needs attention: air filters, light bulbs, heavy things that need to be moved. Danny is wonderful about trying to take as much off of my plate as he can before he leaves. Walking through your home and checking everything will definitely relieve some stress down the road.
- I know it’s all the way down here, but this one really is the most important. Spend time together, get a babysitter and go on a date, have a family weekend away somewhere, cuddle on the couch. Do whatever you can to get as much time together as you can. As soon as they leave, you will be desperate to get every little minute with them back. Don’t take time for granted!
This is my master list. I hope that it helps you when the time comes that you have to hug and kiss your spouse goodbye for however long. I would love to hear if there is something from your “Must Do’s” that you would add!