So, I broke my promise of blogging more about our final weeks here in SDO. Big deal. You’ll understand after reading what follows…
I have assumed a few new roles in our family that weren’t part of the job description before we left for TDY in London. Apparently I’ve been promoted to the “Organizer in Chief”, “Official Family Courier”, “Chauffeur”, “Administrative Assistant”, “Used Car Salesman”, “Management Liaison”, and “Keeper of my Wife’s Sanity”. Let’s address these in order…
1) “Organizer in Chief”: Since my wife works pretty hard during the week, most of the organizing of pack-out has fallen to me. This is OK. She’s tired at the end of the day and does do what she can on weekends, but there are not enough hours in the day for her to pitch in at the levels I hoped she would be able to. I have been organizing so much paperwork and important documents/stuff, I’m pretty sure I qualify for a MLS at this point. I’m a damned curator at this point. Way it goes….
2) “Official Family Courier”: Some document needs to go somewhere? Let me handle it! I make almost daily trips to the Embassy in order to deliver this or that document, or to nudge whomever it is who needs nudging to “hacer nitido” our checkout process (to use the vernacular of the day…). I have become a liaison with just about every section of the Mission…. good thing I have some friends here in good places.
3) “Chauffeur”: I’ve been driving my wife to work for some time now, but I think I really achieved “soccer mom” status after Son’s school ended…. we now have swim lessons, play dates, summer camp, and god-knows-what-else on the radar. I can’t freaking wait until he’s a teenager.
4) “Administrative Assistant”: Filing, scanning, organizing, shredding, faxing, setting/cancelling appointments, sending/receiving documents, etc. You name it… I feel like I’m back in my first job out of college at a shitty publishing firm in Boston where I was a glorified b*tch.
5) “Used Car Salesman”: This one’s the worst. I want to sell the car before we leave. It should be easy… it’s one of the few manual transmission FJs on the island, and the price is right. However, within the Mission, everyone and their mother is selling their vehicle right now. It’s a buyer’s market, and I’ve resorted to a “se vende” sign on the rear window and an ad in the sketchy supercarros website. Grr, public exposure.
6) “Management Liaison”: This one’s weird… since my wife doesn’t have very much time during the week to escape the interview window, I’ve found myself intertwined in a good amount of the “official” departure actions since I’m nearer to my computer and more readily able to provide info at the drop of a hat. I guess this one could also have me called “Executive Assistant”.
7) “Keeper of my Wife’s Sanity”: All of the above positions are under the umbrella of this one. Due to various circumstances that are no one’s fault, my wife is unable to take much administrative time in our last several weeks at post. Hence, I’m trying to take as much responsibility off of her plate as I can (which is hard, since so much has to be done by her due to security/personnel/privacy/access concerns). She has a job to do, and regardless of how close to departure we are, the workload doesn’t lessen. I just hope I’m doing enough. I know our month of home leave can’t come soon enough for everyone involved.
So, for those of you who are trailing spouses: departure sucks. It’s just a warning. As an EFM, you have a sense of powerlessness which is awful and cannot be remedied. You’re responsible for so much (after all, your spouse is the FSO and has a job to do), but have access to so little w/r/t helping out. I wish I could take all these tasks off my wife’s plate, but because I’m not the employee I can’t get anywhere near the systems that are necessary to accomplish them. Thus, my new job descriptions as posited above.
I’m feeling both overwhelmed and overjoyed at the prospect of leaving the DR and starting our next adventure… I just wish I had a clone to help me out.