Saturday, May 19, 2012

Your tax dollars at work (military version)

About a week ago, I thanked you for sending some of your tax dollars our way because we adopted J-son last year. The truth is, that post under-estimated the amount of money that comes our way from the federal coffers.  (Not to mention, that because of other adoption issues, we also get some county money that I might describe at a later date.)

Federally and otherwise, though, our family has gotten more than our share of love and money because my husband serves in the Pennsylvania National Guard.

He re-enlisted in the military 4 years ago, and he served in Iraq in 2009, the year before J-son moved in with us.  Now that my guy is back stateside, he spends about one weekend each month on duty (that's where he is this very weekend), and for that weekend he gets about $350. That's just about enough to pay for his gatorade and lattes, I figure. Pretty cool.  That's the "federal" part of the "federally and otherwise" perqs I mentioned.

But the "otherwise" part is sweet, too. There are additional benefits. We get information all the time about job fairs, about possible summer camps, about events opened up for free just for military families. Some of these events are, of course, outside our area of interest. To wit, I did NOT take anybody up on this Mother's Day offer:
> Classification: UNCLASSIFIED   
> Caveats: FOUO
> Operation Military Kids is proud to announce the 2012 Mother's Day> Celebration> Day Camp. This year's activities will include a backstage tour of the QVC> Studios. The children and guests will learn about how to succeed in the home> shopping business world. Attendees will learn about studio production,> marketing, set design and build, nation-wide distribution networks, and much> more.
 Please, Lord, no, do not send me through that kind of hell.

On the other hand, we've taken advantage of tickets to Nascar races, of free passes to Corn Mazes (with an all-you-can-eat barbecue on the side), of holiday dinners in the Army mess hall.  This summer, N-son will get to go to a one-week outdoors camp, free of charge.  I can't say that any of these events save us money as far as entertainment goes --- we wouldn't have gone to just about any of these on our own ticket -- but the mountains-o'-food at the events certainly help to rein in our grocery budget now and then.

As a peace-nik myself, I admit I'm fairly conflicted about the army/giveaway connections.  I wouldn't recommend joining the military to my dearest friends -- although it just so happens that my dear husband revels in it.  

Perhaps it would be best to close by describing the biggest, most substantial gift of all.  For reenlisting in the PA National Guard, in 2009 my husband won an all-expenses-paid trip overseas for one year.  Housing, clothing, food, transportation, all covered.  For him and 2000 of his closest friends.  Hard to beat that!
My guy at Ft. Sill in Oklahoma, on his way to Iraq.

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