I've been holding off on posting anything about Ted's deployment, because it seems the government can't make up its mind about anything these days, but people have been asking, so here's what we know so far.
Ted leaves on Monday, April 18, for four weeks of training, which will include several hours a day of language lessons. He graduates from this on May 13 and has a tentative load date of May 20 (the day he leaves to begin traveling to his final destination, which can take up to a week because of all the stops the rotator makes along the way) with a report-no-later-than date of May 28. The "rules" are if your load date is less than 7 days from the end of training, you just stay in place and leave from the training site for the deployment. If your date is more than 10 days from the end of training, you return home and leave from there.
So what if you fall between that 7-10 days? Obviously this dilemma puts the government workers in a complete kerfuffle, and no one seems to know what to do with Ted. (How hard can it be to make the policy greater than or less than 7 days?!)
As you can imagine, planning has been next to nonexistent, since we really have had no idea how to prepare. Trying to be prepared for every scenario is exhausting. It's easier just to live in denial and deal with what we need to as it arises. I'm sure that's not the best approach, but it's the only one I have energy for these days.
After much back and forth between various offices, the "final" word we have as of now is that Ted will return home after his 4 weeks of training. HOWEVER...there is a 50-50 chance that the powers that be will change their minds during his TDY and decide to move his load date up, thereby sending him directly from training. This REALLY complicates things...for example, Ted is supposed to be carrying weapons overseas. He will not carry them to training, so if the plans change, that puts a lot more wrinkles in the process. And that doesn't address the "stuff" question--should he carry ALL his deployment gear to training just in case? Or just what he needs for the 4 weeks and presume that if the government has to get weapons to him, they may as well take care of the rest of his stuff too?!
Not to mention the emotional aspects of this. Do we tell the kids Daddy is coming home for a little bit--hopefully? Do we prepare for a 13-month separation by saying all our goodbyes just in case? And if so, and Daddy returns between training and deployment, will it actually be harder to say goodbye all over again for a year?
Meanwhile, time is ticking down...