My Precious Pennies

I will be AWAY until late February as we do this moving thing...again.

Ginger from Attention Target Shoppers & Tricia from 1stopmom
will be holding down the fort in the meantime - thank you so much, ladies!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Honey, we can't afford your job...

Warning - incoming rant...but I really do need to get this off my chest before I blow a blood vessel and bleed to death.

Before today, I thought it was impossible to financially be unable to afford a job. After all, a job pays money, and thus increases your level of afford-ability. Well, that is...unless your job happens to be the military.

Today, I found out that although my husband didn't even get 30 day notice of his orders, housing that we are living in are still holding us responsible to the 30-day notice. And this is with orders, while living in military housing. Someone please explain to me how we were suppose to be able to give a 30-day notice when WE didn't even have a 30 day notice.

According to housing, we were supposed to give notice as soon as we had an inkling of an idea that we would be leaving. They "conveniently" provide 30-day, 45-day, and 60-day notices. Uh...hello? This is the military life...we're ALWAYS leaving. If you go by their logic, we would sign the lease, and then sign our intent to vacant form immediately afterwards.

The only situation in which a 30-day notice is NOT required is if he got orders to Iraq or Afghanistan. Which makes absolutely no sense because those orders would mean HE goes to Iraq or Afghanistan, not his family. We would stay here. And considering they ONLY rent to families and will not even rent to single people...that "exception" is really not an exception at all.

And it gets EVEN better. According to this lady, she meets weekly with the higher ups at the command, and she says that they know all about this housing policy and it is their responsibility to let hubby know about it. Well, no one ever said ANYTHING. No one said anything to him, and no one said anything to me either when I went to all those pointless but voluntary "informational" sessions. Somewhere, the ball was dropped. But you know what? It doesn't hurt the housing lady. It doesn't hurt the higher ups. It hurts us...the little guys that are scrapping by eating rice and beans.

Where we are at right now is that we will be charged a month's rent, but wouldn't even be here for more than half the month. We're not talking about pocket change here people...we're talking about hundreds of dollars. It might be pocket change for those higher ups that forgot to pass the message, but for us that's a couple months of food.

And when I called the family help center here, the "help" I received was a joke. First, I was told that only HE has to report, and we can move up to a year after he leaves. Uh...okay...we already tried that 6 months ago, and that resulted in a 2 month delay, $4000 of stuff broken, and a shoddy house. We are NOT going down that route again. And then I was told that the government gives us MORE than enough money, and we can make up the difference from the gas, hotel, and temporary lodging money they give us. I don't know what government she was talking about, but it definitely wasn't ours...because gas money is for gas, hotel money is for the hotel, and temporary lodging money is for temporary lodging. They barely give you enough to cover your expenses...under no circumstance will you ever have a couple hundred of dollars just left over like some holiday bonus check.

Frankly, it's becoming very clear to me. We simply can't afford for my husband to keep his job. He works 100-something hours a week, but yet we can barely maintain a savings. We would see more money if he was working minimal wage at McDonald's flipping burgers. Any money that we can save is pretty much whisked away from us in a few months. You're supposed to have a "moving fund"...kind of like an emergency fund, but set aside for moving. Well, once upon a time I had one...then I moved 6 months ago. It takes TIME to build a fund back up, especially when the moving company broke most of your stuff.

I can deal with not having my husband around. I can deal with the fact that he's sent to god knows where to do god knows what. I can deal with having to move around constantly. What I cannot deal with is the fact that the very people who are supposed to help us are hurting us left and right. Through no fault of our own we are now in-between a rock and a hard place, and all anyone ever wants to do is tell us it's our fault and to get used to it. I work VERY hard every single day to keep this family out of debt...and I refuse to let the Navy put us back into debt.

At this point, we really have no clear options. After some guesstimating math-work, the total sum of money comes out in the thousands. This is including the required professional carpet cleaning and flea and tick spraying of the house upon move-out. But the funny thing is that this is only required since we stayed less than a year. Someone explain the sense in that to me.

And to make things even cheerier, today I got news that the house we put an offer on is in limbo. They didn't reject our offer, but they're waiting a few days for more offers to come in. Obviously it's not the worse news, but honestly the agent didn't seem too optimistic about it.

I am so sick and tired of people telling me that this is how it's supposed to be. Call me delusional, but moves are not supposed to be this way, even government moves. I don't believe that there's really a "smooth move" out there, but things should not be this ridiculously crazy. It makes me furious that people are trying to make me see this as a "norm".

As of right now, I really don't know where things are going to go. I JUST stopped having nightmares about the last move, and I am in no way (mentally, physically, emotionally, financially) ready for another move. When it comes time for my husband to re-enlist, I really don't think we can afford it.

Moving is an unavoidable part of military life, but no one ever said anything about debt being an unavoidable part of military life.


Ali said...

Wow, Rita. I cannot imagine. Your situation is so trying, emotionally and mentally. Thinking of you, and praying that you and your husband overcome this soon. I can't imagine how hard it is.

1stopmom said...

I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through. I would not know what to do. I am keeping your family in my prayers :)

Jolyn said...

I really haven't read your blog for long but decided to comment because I really feel your pain. We are military also, LOTS of moves, for fourteen years now. Whatever happens, hang in there. Sounds like you've got a good financial head on your shoulders to make this only be a bump in the road.

Lesley said...

I would like your permission to forward this to my Congressman. I am not a "call your Congressman" type of person, but this outrageous screwing of the little people who serve our country needs to be changed. I don't want to do anything that would get you into trouble.


Angela said...

Rita, I enjoy reading your blog, and I am so sorry to hear about this mess. It's a shame that our gov/military cannot bring themselves to treat military families in a decent way.

Lisa said...

There should be a clause in your move in papers. Immediate permanent change of station orders dated within the 30 day period will be an exception th the policy and the 30 day notice should be waived.
Do you go thru pinical? I would go in a fuss some more, and if you do not get the answers you want I would all the Post Commander and let him (or her) know what going on.

Rita @ My Precious Pennies said...

Lesley - feel free to yell this from the rooftops. We're about to.

Lisa - Technically there is a clause. We can break the year lease without penalty w/ the orders, but not the 30-day notice. The papers say "with exceptions"...and that exception is the Afghanistan/Iraq BS.

Hubby's been poking around at work, and we are NOT the only one they are screwing like this. There is at least one other family in the EXACT same boat as us right now...and I'm willing to bet there have been countless families before us who had to deal with this. As soon as he can track down his boss, he's going to talk to him.

I also got the number for the naval inspector general, and if going through the chain of command doesn't work, we'll be filing a report with them.

We have some family friends who have a few contacts with essential key supervisors...they don't work here, but their job is to oversee this area. I think they might be interested to know how this is going down.

This isn't our first base, and hubby's been in for 2 years, but you have to remember that MOST people here are fresh out of boot camp. If this situation is tainting my view of the Navy, and I know how well things CAN work...just imagine what it's doing to the families who are going through their FIRST move. I wouldn't blame them for wanting to run for the hills at first opportunity.

Danielle said...

Military life is frustrating. It can be stressful and depressing. Please keep in mind that your husband has job security. You have insurance and you will not have to make the choice between feeding your child or taking them to the doctor. Contact onesource for help. They can even get you a therapist if you need one. They will also have free tax filing on Jan. 19th, by the way. Your husband should request an advance on your travel and expenses. Good luck hang in there. The military does provide for us, it is the often the civil service employees or other civilians who drop the ball.

Momstart said...

This is a lot. You have gone through a TON of stress in the past couple of months. I can't imagine. I completely understand how hard it is to save money and stay on budget and then when you only have a little bit to spend you can't waste it on rent that you aren't getting to stay in. The government doesn't pay enough for how hard military personal work. God bless you and your husband.

cheapbychoice said...

I agree with Lesley. You should contact your congressman. This is crazy. We should treat our military and military families with more respect. You guys give up alot for the rest of us. I really appreciate what our military people do for all the rest of us. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for awhile but never commented. After reading this, I finally decided too.

At first, reading your rant I was shocked, and then I realized the difference between you and I. My hubby was Army yours is Navy. I don't know how much of a difference there is when it comes to Army housing and Navy housing but apparently there is a huge one. When my husband was getting ready to leave the Army, we got our orders and within 2 weeks were suppose to be 'gone'. We had no problems with housing, other than the typical inspections etc. Personally it sounds like a bunch of bull their feeding you. The housing we were in had a policy that basically stated any type of orders and it dismisses the 30 day notice.

I hope everything will go alright. Sorry their screwing your family like this.

Ashley said...

Another previous Army wife here (and have never commented). Not sure if the Navy has it, but we had something called DLA (dislocation allowance). We were in almost 10 years. DLA was used to cover the cost of moving (hotel costs, rental cars, etc). I cannot remember the exact amount but it was a decent amount. They do not make this widely known and alot of newer people do not know about it. Please ask finance about it. Everyone who is PCSing (at least in the army) was eligible if I remember correctly and it really helped out. I really hope everything works out for you and honestly can't believe housing is pulling this. I'd go as high as I could...this is ridiculous. Good Luck!

Sigurborg said...

Hey Rita, saw your blog on the san diego military mom group... I am on that group too :o) Anyway, so sorry you are having such trouble and yes it is unbelievelbe that they are like that. But do you really have a one year lease? I thought all leases were 6 months and then just month to month? Is it Lincoln military housing up there or something else? I know Lincoln here and San Diego and in VA was 6 months and then just month to month and if you got orders within the 30 day timeframe all you had to show them was that you received them within the 30 days and they would not charge you for the whole month.

Anyway, so sorry you are going through this and also sorry about the house hunting. I didn´t even know it was that tough here, actually I thought it was easier than that and it baffles me that they are asking 50k OVER the asking price!


ps.. yes my blog will show up here as a link but it is in Icelandic, just so you know if you check it, lol...

WildSeaKitten said...

have you called military onesource?


there are people there 24/7 to help you figure this out. I"m not military myself... but my son is... and we have been dealing with our own stuff.

Meg said...

That's so awful! Can his Shirt (do they have those in the Army?) do anything? Or his CO? I was under the impression that the whole wide world had to accept the military orders and release you of any contracts you were bound into. I'm a new Air Force wife and I've heard so many situations like these to say after four years, time's up, let's go. However, the benefits are super nice, plus there's the job security. Anyway, good luck. I hope you guys are able to get everything worked out.

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